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Fishers Fire Department offering free water safety classes for neighborhood pools

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Posted at 7:24 PM, Jun 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-22 19:25:40-04

FISHERS — Water safety always becomes a topic of conversation during the summer.

Especially this summer after two young girls drowned in a retention pond on June 15, in Greenwood.

The Fishers Fire Department is doing more than just talking about safety, they are bringing valuable information to the people who need it the most kids and their parents.

"It's one of the most preventable deaths out there," Captain John Mehling with the Carmel Fire Department said. "We feel like if we can just get enough information to enough people we can prevent some of these drownings from occurring."

During the class, the firefighters start with the basics.

They remind kids not to swim alone and to always swim with a buddy. However, the instructors take it a step further, by teaching the kids how to help one of their friends if they are in distress.

"A lot of time people will just jump in to save their friend and that often causes a second victim,” Mehling said. “So, we want to go through the different possibilities they might utilize being aware of their surroundings things that they can use. If they are swimming by themselves and they have an incident here are some techniques in which you can do some self-rescue."

That is a big reason parents wanted to bring the classes to their neighborhood.

"If they happen to see a friend that is maybe having trouble in the pool maybe they are able to learn how to help get them to a safe wall or something,” Amber Webster, a Fishers Parent who asked the fire department to come to her neighborhood pool to teach the class, said.

According to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission's May 2022 report, 400 children on average drown every year and there are 7,000 water-related hospitalizations as well.

"We've seen a spike in the hospital treated injuries and the drowning fatalities about a 17 percent spike of last year to this year,” Nikki Fleming with the U.S Consumer Products Safety Commission said. “So that’s definitely something we are concerned about that.”

They say that the spike could be due to COVID-19. Pools were closed and fewer people had access to swimming lessons, which they suspect is a factor in the increase.

Riley's Children Health has reported treating five drowning patients in 2022 with one drowning being fatal.

That's why it is important to check your child's swimming ability.

Learning how to swim is one of the best things both kids and adults can do.

"Everyone needs to learn how to swim whether you’re a young child or adult, lessons are available it's not too late," Mehling said.

The Fishers Fire department says parents should always be vigilant while their kids are swimming. They recommend taking turns watching them with another adult.

They also recommend if you have a personal pool, have a fence around it. The fence should have four sides and should be at least 4 feet high. It should also have a self-closing self-latching gate.

The U.S. CPSC also recommends having a pool or fence alarm in the possible case of kids sneaking out when you aren’t near the pool area.

If you live in Fishers and would like to schedule a water safety class, call 317-595-3208 to schedule a class.