Drowning is still the third leading cause of death in Canada, yet it is avoidable.
This week is National Drowning Prevention Week, and the City of Moose Jaw is doing several activities to raise awareness.
At the Kinsmen Sportsplex indoor pool and the Phyllis Dewar outdoor pool, the lifeguard staff will be doing educational activities and demonstrations for the general public to watch and participate in during the afternoon public swims on Monday through to Friday.
“We would be happy to answer any questions or have conversations about how people can be more involved to eliminate drowning in our province and in our country,” said City of Moose Jaw Recreation Services Supervisor Shelly Howe.
There will be displays in the lobbies showing drowning statistics and there will be colouring pages for kids. Displays will also be put up around other city-own facilities.
Howe noted that an important part of drowning education is adults taking the lead and being role models for the younger generations whether it's wearing lifejackets on a boat, not drinking and boating, supervising children around water, taking swimming lessons if you don’t know how to swim, or just sharing drowning statistics to raise awareness.
“There are so many easy things we can do to role model safe behaviour around aquatic activities,” Howe said.
This recent heatwave makes National Drowning Prevention Week even more timely as people head to the lake or the city’s swimming pools to cool off. While residents are encouraged to do so, they are asked to do so safely.
“Don't swim alone, watch out for each other and keep an extra eye on those children and anyone who might be new to our country that hasn't had the opportunity to get into a public swimming pool or a public beach for recreational purposes, we need to help out everyone,” Howe said.
According to the Lifesaving Society of Canada, 66 per cent of drownings occurred between May and September when the weather is warm.
Meanwhile, 70 per cent of drownings happen in open bodies of water such as ponds, lakes, rivers and oceans. Many of these drownings, 74 per cent, were people who never intended to end up in the water whether it was boating, unintentionally falling into the water or an accident while travelling by land, ice or air.
“Drownings can occur and they can occur everywhere, anytime, in any body of water, and so we need to be willing to step up and call each other out on our behaviours around aquatic activities to keep us all safe,” Howe said.
A sobering statistic from the Lifesaving Society is that 92 per cent of drownings are children left unsupervised or those supervising were distracted. In contrast, less than one per cent of drownings occurred in a lifeguard-supervised setting.