Valley firefighters walk for drowning awareness and prevention

Firefighters are walking the streets where a 4-year-old boy drowned on Sunday. There have been two drowning deaths in Maricopa County so far this year, and firefighters hope to prevent future drownings.

Phoenix Fire Department crews went door to door in the neighborhood off 35th Avenue and Dunlap. Capt. Ben Santillan says they are handing out DVD's and pamphlets on water safety and drowning prevention each year after every fatality.

"The incident happened on 37th Avenue and Golden, and what we're trying to do is canvas the entire area," said Capt. Santillan.

Firefighters say the best way to prevent a drowning is to know how to swim, always have adult supervision, have barriers up, and know CPR.

The purpose of the walk is to target families in the area.

"Does your niece know how to swim?" asked a firefighter.

"Nope, none of them know how to swim, so we have to keep an eye on them when we go to the lakes, or the pool, or my sister's pool," replied Angela Mainville.

As fire crews walked the neighborhood, they're also educating adults on water safety as 60% of adults don't know how to swim.

Mary Garcia and her granddaughter don't know how to swim.

"This would be a great time for you since you don't know how to swim, to join her, and you can swim together," said Santillan.

She said after hearing the firefighter's message, she will enroll in the class.

"Once they teach me, I think I'll pick up real quick," said Garcia.

Firefighters hope everyone, like Mary, who doesn't know how to swim, will take action fast.

"We don't want anymore children dying, no more adults, nothing. That's the reason why we're out here," said Santillan.

Pool inspectors say all pools need to have a barrier up at least five feet high with a self-closing gate that swings away from the pool.

The City of Phoenix offers swim and water safety classes. If you'd like more information visit:
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