GILBERT, Ariz. - August is Drowning Impact Awareness Month, and a Gilbert swim school is doing its part by raising money for the cause.
Special T-shirts are for sale in the lobby of Swimhaus in Gilbert. Co-owner Jim Gleason says that this month was the perfect time to team up with the Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona for their fundraiser.
"All proceeds go to the Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona, and their efforts...support water education - basically everything to help keep kids safe in and around the water," Gleason said.
Swimhaus was built on the foundation of keeping kids safe in and around the water.
"A lot of people just don't know the basics of water safety, things as simple as the ABC's: there's adult supervision, barricades around pools [and] classes like formal swim lessons," Gleason explained. "They're just not aware of the steps they can take, so this cause helps educate everyone. There's also grants for children who may not be able to afford swim lessons."
Since the pandemic, lessons are more important than ever.
"In Maricopa County alone, we've had 92 water-related incidents in Gilbert," according to assistant Gilbert Fire Chief Mark Justice. "That's a 30% increase we would normally see by this time of year; one of the things we do contribute to that is folks staying at home."
Drowning is the leading cause of death for children under the age of four. Gleason says his goal is to save as many lives as possible.
"Is there enough [education]? You know ...I don't know that there is ever enough," Gleason said. "Like I said, water safety is so important."
T-shirts sell for $25. Stickers for water bottles and laptops are selling for $3.
Buy one here: https://www.preventdrownings.org/prevention/DIAM