Chandler mobilizing door-to-door vols to combat drownings

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Drowning Prevention Walk volunteers from last year included young people who made their way through the neighborhood with door hangars emphasizing the city’s water-safety message.
(Photo courtesy City of Chandler Public Information Office)

Chandler firefighters are asking residents and groups to join them on Saturday, April 7, by going door-to-door through local neighborhoods to help prevent water-related tragedies.

Now in its ninth year, the city’s campaign is designed to educate residents about the importance of water safety for both children and adults, according to Battalion Chief Blas Minor, the department’s public information officer.

For this year’s initiative, Department Chief Tom Dwiggins issued an appeal for help to all segments ofthe community, including scouting groups, religious congregations, businesses, service clubs, swim teams and other organizations.

Last year, Dwiggins noted, department staff responded to seven water-related incidents that involved both adults and children, two of whom lost their lives.

“These tragedies take lives and change lives 100 percent of the time,” Dwiggins said.

On the morning of the event, department staff will assign small groups of volunteers to a specific Chandler neighborhood and provide instructions, maps and door hangers with water safety information.

Participants will then walk their assigned route and leave a door hanger at every home. Each route will take two to three hours to complete.

Volunteers must provide their own transportation to the neighborhood they are assigned, and are encouraged to wear comfortable walking shoes, hats, sun glasses and sunscreen, and to bring drinking water.

Children and youth under age 18 must be accompanied by a parent or responsible adult or be part of a supervised group.

Volunteers will meet at 8 a.m. at Chandler Fire Station No. 5 at 1775 W. Queen Creek Road.

“The focus of this campaign is to remind the community that these incidents continue to happen, they happen to adults and to children, and they are preventable.”

For children, direct and constant adult supervision and barriers to water, such as pool fences, are two of the best ways to reduce drowning risk.

Adults must take responsibility for their own safety around water. They should never swim alone, while under the influence of alcohol or when taking medications that cause drowsiness.

Additionally, Dwiggins said, adults must take personal responsibility for securing pools or other bodies of water at their home, supervising children in their care, and teaching them how to swim at the appropriate age.

Learning how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation also is an important step adults can take to better prepare themselves for any medical emergency, he said.

Residents also may see crews out in the community emphasizing pool safety and water awareness to Chandler residents at grocery stores, parks, schools, homeowner association meetings and during door-to-door visits.

Additional water safety tips and drowning prevention information is available on the Chandler Fire, Health & Medical Department website at chandleraz.gov/fire.

Individuals or groups that cannot participate on April 7 can still support the walk at a time that is more convenient.

Call 480-782-2120 or email chandlerfire@chandleraz.gov and staff will assign a neighborhood and provide necessary
materials.

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