RANCHO SANTA FE — Summertime has officially begun and the RSF Fire Protection District wants its community to remain water safe and vigilant since many families will be enjoying pool time and outdoor parties.
Implementing various water safety steps and adding onto those already implemented in previous years will help safeguard summertime activities even more.
Julie Taber, public dducation coordinator for the Fire Protection District wants residents hosting a pool party to designate at least one adult to be a “Water Watcher” to monitor swimmers at all times. This person should have their eyes on the pool and not be distracted.
Taber also conveyed the importance of being familiar with the signs of a child or person in distress.
“Drowning doesn’t look like what you see on television or in the movies. A person who is drowning rarely waves their arms or calls for help,” she said. Taber continued, “They tend to bob up and down in an upright position with their mouth right around the waterline. Their head may be tilted back and their eyes closed or glassy.”
Taber recommends that adults learn infant, child and adult CPR; and, always have a phone near the pool for emergency use, preferably a landline over a cellphone.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission 2013 Pool and Spa Submersion Report, Taber said, 76 percent of reported submersion fatalities involved children under the age of 5. From those fatality numbers, 85 percent of these incidences occurred in residential locations.
For residents who have pools and spas, Taber offered additional tips such as making certain that the areas were entirely fenced in with a size of 60 inches or higher along with self-closing and latching gates.
“Latches should be a minimum of 54 inches from the ground and gates should open outward,” she said. “And have life-saving devices, such as a hook, pole, or flotation device, near the pool. Also, drains in pools and spas should have anti-entrapment drain covers.”
For those with children who are not swimming, Taber said not have them play in the same vicinity where the pool is located and to always keep toys out of the pool to avoid temptations.
Installing exit alarms to doors leading out to the pool area will alert adults immediately which are an excellent safety tool.
Above all, children should never be left unattended with a pool or water source in the area.
Taber said during pool time supervision, an adult should always be watching the children. And if an adult needs to leave, even for a just minute, they must take all the children with them.
“A person can drown in just a few inches of water,” she said. “Never leave a child unattended around splash pools, bath tubs, fountains, and so on. Also, if a child goes missing, always check the pool and other water sources first.”
For additional pool safety information and resources, visit rsf-fire.org and poolsafely.gov.