KING COUNTY, WA - Today, Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, Seattle-King County American Red Cross CEO Jim Hamilton, representatives from Public Health — Seattle & King County, the Drowning Prevention Coalition, and hydroplane driver Dave Villwock honored local heroes for saving others from drowning.
The event also kicked off the 2002 swimming, fishing and boating season by urging people to learn about water safety and drowning prevention during April Pool's Day, Saturday, April 20.
"It is an honor for me to meet these outstanding people who saved others from drowning," noted Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels. "I hope their stories and the information presented at the April Pool's Day events motivate families and the entire community to be safer around water this coming year."
"Drownings are preventable, and without a doubt, water safety knowledge and actions saves lives," said King County Executive Ron Sims. "Children's Hospital, the American Red Cross, Mustang Survival and other members of the Drowning Prevention Coalition are to be commended for their important work with water safety."
The heroes honored at the event were:
- 12 year-old Janaye Kenyon who pulled her two year old niece from Issaquah Creek
- Anthony DeJarnatt who used CPR to revive a drowning victim at a local pool
- Renton resident Richard DeWitt who saved a four year old from drowning in his apartment pool with rescue and CPR
- Christine Shannon and Heidi Hart, Seattle residents who pulled two struggling men into their lifeboat when the ferryboat "Express Samina" hit a rock and sank in the Aegean Sea near Greece.
Also recognized was the Seattle Parks Department Aquatics Program for winning the National Parks and Recreation Association's 2002 Excellence in Aquatics award. This program provides over 350,000 lessons each year. David Gertsch, retiring pool manager of the Helene Madison Pool was also recognized for his outstanding career of teaching swimming and promoting water safety.
April Pool's Day is Saturday, April 20
On April Pool's Day, over 50 pools around Seattle, King County and the state will be holding activities that promote water safety and drowning prevention.
At local pools on April Pool's Day, children and adults can:
- enjoy a free swim
- try on lifejackets and get lifejackets inspected
- participate in water safety activities (e.g, boating safety and CPR/first aid training)
For more information on the participating pools, individuals may call the April Pool's Day hotline at 206-296-7643.
King County drownings in 2001
While preventable drowning decreased in the Seattle-King County area from 20 in 2000 to 17 last year among all ages, the agencies and individuals involved in this effort recognize that the numbers of tragedies could be even lower.
"We have been able to decrease the number of drownings in King County through effective public education and new water safety laws," said Dr. Alonzo Plough, Director of Public Health — Seattle & King County. "In our state, however, drowning is still a leading cause of unintentional injury death among children."
Water safety guidelines
To prevent future tragedies, Public Health recommends that people follow water safety guidelines:
- By law, children under 12 must always wear a lifejacket on boats under 19 feet.
- Make sure that children are supervised when swimming or near water as lack of supervision is the most common cause of drowning. Fence pools on all sides.
- Wear a lifejacket when swimming in open water, and while in small boats, rafting, inner tubing, water skiing or on a personal watercraft.
- Learn how to swim, and teach children to swim with a buddy in a lifeguarded area.
- Drowning statistics show that "midnight swims" and swimming in unsupervised areas are especially dangerous for young people ages 12 to 24. Alcohol and water do not mix; people in this age group should wear a lifejacket if a lifeguard is not around.
- Learn what to do in an emergency (for example, take a CPR class).
Providing effective and innovative health and disease prevention services for over 1.8 million residents and visitors of King County, Public Health — Seattle & King County works for safer and healthier communities for everyone, every day.