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Free water safety seminar Saturday

By Staff | Jul 11, 2012

The Cape Coral Police Department has partnered with the fire department and parks and recreation to raise local awareness about water safety.

The CCPD is hosting a free water safety seminar from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the Cape Coral Yacht Club pool. The event is open to the public.

The seminar will feature water rescue demonstrations by the Cape fire department, CPR and water rescue demonstrations by the pools lifeguard staff, and an appearance by the pool’s mascot, “Sammi the Seahorse.”

“There’s plenty of water here in Florida,” Lt. Tony Sizemore, of the Cape police, said. “And there’s a lot more to water safety than swimming pools.”

There will be a child water drowning prevention station, life jacket safety demonstrations and an information station on swimming lessons and water exercise lessons. A sun safety station will offer free sunscreen samples.

“All different aspects (of water safety),” he said.

Local pool fencing and pool alarm companies will be on site.

“There’s going to be door prizes and giveaways,” Sizemore said.

SeaTow will give away a membership, while a pool gate company will offer sections of fencing and a gift certificate worth a few hundred dollars.

Other items to be given out are pool alarms, sliding door alarms and life jackets.

“So theres quite a bit of prizes, he said.

Lee Memorial Health System officials reported that if the current rate of drownings in Southwest Florida remains steady, 2012 will exceed last year’s total. Three youths have drown since January, that figure was one in 2011.

Since the year’s start, the Childrens Hospital of Southwest Florida has recorded 17 near-drownings. In 2011, it recorded 33 near-drownings.

“This has already been a deadlier year for children,” Pat Dolce, a spokeswoman for the Lee Memorial Health System, said.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the leading cause of death for children under 5. Males are four times more likely to be victims of drowning and half of all drownings take place

in pools.

“Florida loses more children under the age of 5 to drowning every year than any other state in the nation,” Terri Durdaller, a spokeswoman for the Department of Children and Families, said.

“Hundreds more experience near-drowning tragedies that can cause permanent health problems and developmental delays,” she said.

According to Sizemore, the idea for the seminar came from one officer.

“We investigate pool and water related emergencies all year,” he said.

A few months ago, the officer responded to an incident involving an unresponsive child in a pool. She performed CPR until EMS arrived.

“It really shook her up,” Sizemore said, adding that the officer has a child about the same age as the victim in the incident. “It really hit home.”

The Cape Coral Yacht Club pool is at 5819 Driftwood Parkway.