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Volunteers sought to distribute water safety fliers to homes

April 9, 2008

The Chandler Fire Department, along with fire departments from Tempe, Gilbert and Mesa, needs volunteers to help them get the word out.

And that word, or words, is that child drownings don't need to happen.

Volunteers are asked to participate in the Walk for Water Safety outreach event starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, taking that message into neighborhoods.

"It hits home hard for all of us when we go to a child drowning," said veteran firefighter and spokesman for the Tempe department, Mike Reichling. "Child drownings are preventable and we have the means to keep them from happening; yet somehow, sometimes, we fail, and we ask 'How could this happen?'

"So we're going to walk Saturday, a lot of us, volunteers too, and we're going to provide drowning prevention information to a lot of households. I personally plan to get to about 200 houses, and my wife and daughter and sister-in-law will walk. We'll get to hundreds of homes."

The program is being conducted across the Southeast Valley and is done in partnership with Banner Children's Hospital, SRP and the fire departments in each city. The goal is to get to 50,000 homes.

Tempe Fire Department education specialist Beverly Burns said making people more aware of the dangers of an unsupervised pool could pay off. She noted that Tempe has had only one child drowning in the last five years. There have, however, been 82 child drownings Valley-wide in the last five years, she said.

Burns said lifeguard whistles, brochures in English and Spanish and other items will be packaged in bags and distributed on doorknobs and around the cities.

Those interested in more information or volunteering in Chandler can call 480-782-2138.

Reproduced with permission from:
The Arizona Republic
By William Hermann
Copyright 2008 Arizona Republic

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