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March 9, 2016
 
Drowning Prevention WalkChandler Fire, Health & Medical seeks volunteers for a neighborhood walk event on April 2 to promote water safety and drowning prevention
 
For the sixth year, Chandler firefighters are asking residents and groups to join them in a door-to-door campaign through local neighborhoods to help prevent water related tragedies in the community. The goal is to educate residents about the importance of water safety for both children and adults.
 
The Chandler Fire, Health & Medical (CFHM) Department’s 2016 drowning prevention campaign will kick off on Saturday, April 2, when volunteers will meet at 9 a.m. at the Desert Oasis Aquatic Center, located at 1400 W. Summit Place.
 
CFHM Acting Chief Tom Dwiggins is appealing to all segments of the community to assist in this effort, including scouting groups, religious congregations, businesses, service clubs, swim teams and other organizations. Anyone who wishes to participate in the neighborhood walks should call 480-782-2124 or email chandlerfire@chandleraz.gov prior to April 2.
 
The event targets a different section of the City each year, and in 2015 more than 100 volunteers visited 15,388 homes. This year, the walk area is North Chandler and will include neighborhoods east of the Loop 101 Price Freeway, and north of Galveston Street, targeting 14,077 homes.
 
On the morning of April 2, CFHM Department staff will assign small groups of volunteers to a specific Chandler neighborhood and provide instructions, maps and door hangers with water safety information. Participants will then walk their assigned route and leave a door hanger at every home. Each route will take two to three hours to complete. Volunteers must provide their own transportation to the neighborhood they are assigned, and they are encouraged to wear comfortable walking shoes, hats, sun glasses, sunscreen and bring drinking water. Children and youth under age 18 must be accompanied by a parent or responsible adult or be part of a supervised group.
 
For children, direct and constant adult supervision and barriers to water such as pool fences are two of the best ways to reduce drowning risk.  Adults must take responsibility for their own safety around water.  They should never swim alone, while under the influence of alcohol or when taking medications that cause drowsiness. 
 
Additionally, every adult must take personal responsibility for securing pools or other bodies of water at their home, supervising children in their care, and teaching them how to swim at the appropriate age. Learning how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) also is an important step adults can take to better prepare themselves for any medical emergency.
 
Last year, CFHM responded to 11 water-related incidents that involved both adults and children, four of which lost their lives. “These tragedies take lives and change lives 100 percent of the time,” said CFHM Acting Fire Chief Tom Dwiggins. “The focus of this campaign is to remind the community that these incidents continue to happen, they happen to adults and to children, and they are preventable.”
 
Individuals or groups that cannot participate on April 2 can still support the walk at a time that is more convenient. Call 480-782-2124 or email chandlerfire@chandleraz.gov and CFHM staff will assign a neighborhood and provide the materials noted above.
 
Residents also may see CFHM crews out in the community throughout the months of March and April emphasizing pool safety and water awareness to Chandler residents at grocery stores, parks, schools, home owner association meetings and during door-to-door visits. Additional water safety tips and drowning prevention information is available on the Chandler Fire, Health & Medical Department website at chandleraz.gov/fire.