May is National Water Safety Month: Tips to keep kids safe in the pool

May is National Water Safety Month, and the Gilbert Fire Department has teamed up with the Swimhaus swimming school to teach the public about pool safety.

Drowning is fast and silent. It can happen in as little as 20-60 seconds. 

Deputy fire chief Mark Justus said driving patients to the hospital after responding to a drowning call is one of the worst assignments.

"Every time you look into the face of one of those kids you are working on, you see your own," he said. "The only calls that have stayed with me are the drownings I have been on."

That's one reason the fire department has teamed up with Swimhaus for the month of May.

Swimhaus owner Jim Gleason says families need to follow the ABCDs of water safety:

  • Adult supervision
  • Barriers
  • CPR classes for adults, swim lessons for kids
  • Devices, like Coast Guard-approved life vests for kids who cannot swim

"You have to have all these layers in place to give your kids a chance to be safe in and around the water and avoid tragedy," said Gleason.

Both Gleason and the chief say that one designated adult who is supervising has to put their phone down - their eyes have to be in the water at all times.

And while they're talking safety, the two groups are organizing a kids' shoe drive to benefit One Small Step AZ, which provides free clothing and shoes to the community. There are four shoe drop-off locations, including one a Swimhaus.

Classes at Swinhaus are made for babies and kids starting at 3 months old.