The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service has responded to a large number of near drownings throughout Montgomery County so far this year. These have occurred at neighborhood and community pools, County pools, pools located at private clubs, and backyard pools. The common thread between these incidents is that they involved younger children who were unwatched for only a few moments.
The primary take-home message is that the tragedy of a drowning can happen in an instant and can best be prevented by teaching children to respect water, teaching children how to swim, and by adults being extremely vigilant when it comes to monitoring children when they are in or around water.
Anyone who has a pool or who goes to a pool should review the following information:
Splash into Summer SAFELY!
Swimming Swimming Swimming
Never leave children unattended around any body of water (bathtubs, pools, ornamental backyard ponds, etc.).
Small children don't think of water as a danger and, by nature, are very curious. Being left alone in or around water without supervision can be fatal. Do not leave water or any other solutions unattended in buckets or other containers - a child can drown in as little as two inches of water.
Learn to swim. But remember - even good swimmers can drown.
Swimming lessons are no substitute for supervision of children and never swim alone.
Valuable lifesaving seconds are lost by having to wait for Emergency Medical Services to respond and administer CPR. Four to six minutes without oxygen can cause irreversible brain damage or death.
Pay attention to local weather conditions and forecasts.
Stop swimming at the first indication of bad weather.
Watch out for the "dangerous too's"
...too far from safety
...too much sun
...too much strenuous activity
Always have a phone
Keep a phone (cell or cordless) by the pool or nearby when engaged in recreational water activities so that you can call 9-1-1 in an emergency.
Know where your children are at all times.
Never leave a child unattended in the water or pool area. Don't be distracted by phone calls, chores or conversations. If you leave the pool area, take the child with you.
Don't rely on substitutes.
The use of floatation devices and inflatable toys cannot replace parental supervision. Such devices could suddenly shift position, lose air, or slip out from underneath, leaving the child in a dangerous situation.
Thank you for your help in working to keep our community safe!
Battalion Chief Jim Resnick, Battalion 2 - serving the communities of Bethesda, Cabin John, Chevy Chase, Glen Echo, and Potomac
Montgomery County Fire and Rescue