Flagler County Fire Rescue is partnering with agencies, businesses and Palm Coast non-profit WaterSafe Inc. to provide an educational yet fun day of water safety instruction for families and children. WaterSafe will be held from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 21, at the Belle Terre Swim & Racquet Club, 73 Patricia Lane, Palm Coast.
“Water safety is so important, because it only takes a couple of seconds for a child to drown,” said Fire Marshal Jerry Smith. “We need to provide our children a safe environment and teach them how to float, first, and then how to swim.”
Florida leads the country in drowning deaths of children ages 1 to 4 years old, according to the Florida Department of Health. The Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC) cites drowning as the leading cause of unintentional death of children in this age group.
Parents can sign up for the opportunity for their children to participate in the Swim Scholarship Program at the event. An application is available at the bottom of the WaterSafe website www.watersafefl.org. Additional safety information can be found under the “More” tab.
Most water-related accidents are avoidable by following a few simple guidelines that local professionals will provide.
Flagler County Emergency Management, Flagler County Fire Rescue, Flagler Beach Ocean Rescue, Flagler Beach Fire Department, Flagler County Schools, Flagler Technical College, Belle Terre Swim & Racquet Club, Advent Health, the Florida Swimming Pool Associations, Florida Health Department-Flagler, and EM Pros (Emergency Medicine Professionals) will participate by providing instruction and informational literature. Educational stations will include the following: free and paid swim class registration; water survival skills (pool); CPR introduction; water rescue demonstration; infant swim demonstration; sun safety, eye and skin protection; water safety “reach, throw, don’t go;” pool safety information; ocean safety information; water and wildlife dangers; and, “Safe Kids” information.
There will also be photo opportunities with a live mermaid, and KIX and Beach 92 will also be on site during the event.
This event is free of charge and open to the public. Sponsors include: Beaver Toyota, Cline Construction, Florida Swimming Pool Association, Speedway Custom Photo Lab, and VyStar Credit Union.
Swim diapers are required for children who are not potty trained. Others should bring swimsuits and towels and prepare to get wet.
“This event is geared toward families with young children,” said Emergency Management Director Jonathan Lord. “Water safety is critical for children in Florida because of our weather, and because of the number of swimming pools and other natural water resources we have.”