KING COUNTY, WASHINGTON - Saving lives on the water was the focus of today's April Pools Day event at the Covington Aquatics Center. King County Executive Ron Sims, Public Health — Seattle & King County, the American Red Cross, and the Washington Drowning Prevention Network honored King County residents who saved others from drowning and encouraged people to attend April Pools Day events to learn how to stay safe in the water.
"Water sports are a healthy way to have fun, and April Pools Day is an appealing way for children and adults to learn how to keep safe while swimming and boating," said King County Executive Ron Sims.
|Ron Sims promotes water safety during April Pools Day 2006 event
Saturday, April 22, is April Pools Day for most facilities in King County and around the state. These events combine water safety activities and a free swim. This year, 39 pools in King County and around Washington will take part in April Pools Day.
"Being active is part of a healthy lifestyle, and water sports are great way to be more active," said Dorothy Teeter, Interim Director and Health Officer for Public Health — Seattle & King County. "Remember to carefully watch your children at pools and beaches, swim only at lifeguarded beaches, avoid drinking alcohol when swimming or boating, and wear a life jacket in open water."
Last year in the Puget Sound region, five people drowned over the Memorial Day weekend. In 2005, 17 people died in unintentional drownings in King County; two of these were young people under 21 years old.
"Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death among children. Those at most risk include small children aged 1 to 4 and teenagers 15 to 19," said Dr. Linda Quan of Seattle Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center. "Drowning is entirely preventable."
For more information on water safety or a list of pools participating in April Pools Day, please call the Red Cross at 206-726-3544 or visit: www.kingcounty.gov/health/injury
Today Executive Sims and other officials recognized the following people for water rescues in 2005:
|Ron Sims honors local water safety heroes
- Fourteen year old Jahfel Stubblefield, his mother Sabrina Lockett, and his aunt Sheri Moore: The family saved a six year old from drowning in a Kent apartment-complex pool.
- Bob Iwasaki, Gary Lidstone, George Piontek, and Paul Richter: While golfing in Federal Way, they spotted a groundskeeper who was trapped under water by his mower. The four-some freed him.
- Todd Hickam and Ryan Thornhill: These cable company workers saved a 10 year old from drowning in a Des Moines apartment complex pool.
Executive Sims also honored:
- Susanna Kang, a Seattle teenager, for her work to initiate youth-oriented drowning prevention activities in Seattle.
- Diane Jones, Seattle Parks and Recreation, for 30 years of leadership and exceptional service promoting water safety.
Important water safety tips
|Watch full video of this event in RealMedia format.
- Swim and boat only when sober.
- Wear a life jacket or vest when swimming or boating in open water like the ocean, lakes and rivers.
- Take extra precaution when swimming in fast-moving rivers. The currents and cold water temperatures can be extremely dangerous.
- Ensure that infants and children wear a life jacket or vest when in or near open water. Washington law requires children twelve years old and younger to wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket or vest on all vessels less than nineteen feet.
- Supervise children when they are in or near all types of water. Appoint sober adults to supervise children at beach or pool gatherings. Ensure supervisors are close enough to provide immediate rescue to children in need.
- Ensure all family members know how to swim.
- Swim only in areas with lifeguards.
- Learn CPR.
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.