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Manatee County launched pool and water safety campaign Friday 

Posted by | April 1, 2017 | Drowning Prevention, Water Safety

BY CLAIRE ARONSONcaronson@bradenton.com

Drowning can happen in seconds and in inches of water, according to a Manatee County Emergency Medical Services district chief.With 26 drowning and near-drowning incidents in Manatee County in the last year, Manatee County launched a pool and water safety campaign Friday morning at G.T. Bray Recreation Center pools.“What we are looking to do is kind of attack some of the issues that we have seen here recently in our community and kind of get ahead of the game,” Sean Dwyer said. “As the weather gets nicer, folks tend to head toward the pools, toward the water, and we are noticing an uptick in some drowning and near-drowning events.”As a play on April Fools’ Day, the month-long initiative kicks off Saturday with “April Pools Day.” Throughout the campaign, county public safety crews will go talk with businesses, homeowner associations, day-care centers and schools about ways to prevent drowning, according to Dwyer.“Supervision. That’s the No. 1 thing we want to make sure is happening,” he said.Other preventative measures include making sure residential pools are visible to adults and access to exterior doors is limited to adults as well as keeping the pool area clean, according to Dwyer.“This is the first year that we are doing it,” Dwyer said of the initiative. “It is a statewide initiative.”The county is also encouraging swimming lessons as part of the initiative. Swim lessons are available at both G.T. Bray Recreation Center as well as John Marble Pool.“It is a lifesaving skill and a lifelong skill,” said Matt Porter, the county’s aquatics supervisor. “It’s never too late to learn how to swim.”In addition to the county’s EMS, Manatee County Marine Rescue, Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Department, SafeKids Suncoast and the Florida Department of Health in Manatee County are participating in the campaign, which will “emphasize the importance of swimming lessons, adult supervision, safety barriers to pools and how to respond in a water-related emergency,” according to a news release.“With the recent upsurge in pediatric drownings and near-drownings, we thought it was important to ramp up our educational efforts in an attempt to prevent these situations from occurring,” said Bob Smith, the county’s public safety director. “At the same time, we’re hoping to teach folks the best things they could do prior to our arrival if it does happen.”Claire Aronson: 941-745-7024, @Claire_AronsonFIVE WATER SURVIVAL SKILLS1. Step or jump into water over his/her head and return to the surface2. Float or tread water for one minute3. Turn around in a full circle and find an exit from the water4. Swim 25 yards to the exit5. Exit from the water without using the ladder

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Source: Manatee County launched pool and water safety campaign Friday | Bradenton Herald