On a recent weekend, Scottsdale firefighters had four adults drown in backyard pools or spas.
Those four deaths increased the total drownings to nine fatalities in Scottsdale since July, according to Scottsdale fire officials.
The deaths have raised eyebrows among fire officials who are reminding adults to use common sense when in a pool.
“We haven’t had a child fatality (this year),” said Scottsdale fire Marshal Jim Ford. “But when we had four adult drownings over one weekend, geez. We perked up again.”
As part of August being Drowning Impact Awareness Month, Scottsdale Public Safety partnered with the Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona to remind adults they aren’t drowning-proof and to follow two simple rules: Never swim alone, and never swim impaired.
“You’re never old enough to swim by yourself,” said Rod Thompson, Scottsdale’s Emergency Medical Services battalion chief. “We teach kids they must have a supervisor and to ‘swim with a buddy’ as they get older. The same is true for adults.”
There is a wide range of causes for the most recent adult drownings, Ford said.
“Most are in their own pool or hot tubs or in an apartment-complex pool,” he said. “Sometimes it’s alcohol-related or medical-related. Sometimes they’ve taken some other drugs and got into a hot tub when they shouldn’t have.”
In one recent drowning, the adult got into a hot tub, took some medication and failed to get out.
“Nobody is invincible,” Ford said. “Use common sense. Let people know where you’re going. We appreciate everyone keeping an eye on kids, but it’s not just kids. Don’t let your guard down.”
Since January, Scottsdale firefighters have responded to 16 water-related incidents that include four children, one teen and 11 adults. Of those numbers, eight adults and the teen have died.
Scottsdale fire-department officials remind adults to never swim alone.
– Always tell a family member or friend that you are going into the pool or hot tub.
– Do not take any medications, whether prescription or over-the-counter medicines, that could make you feel drowsy before entering a body of water. This includes pools, hot tubs or bath tubs. If you’re not sure, check with your doctor.
– Never mix alcohol and any kind of water-related activity. The water temperatures in hot tubs can speed up the effects of alcohol.