Riverside Fire Department, School District Partner to kick-off Drowning Prevention
RIVERSIDE – The month of May is recognized by National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA) as “National Drowning Prevention Month.”
Spring and summer seasons are usually when families across the nation begin outdoor activities, often involving children taking their first dip in either their backyard swimming pools or community pools. Unfortunately the beginning of summer also brings tragedies related to water activities such as fatal drowning’s.
On Friday, April 29th, 2015, the Riverside City Fire Department, in partnership with the Riverside Unified School District, will kick off the annual “Drowning Prevention Program,” to Twain Elementary School at 10:30 am. Many RFD firefighters will enter first grade classrooms and read the short book, Stewie the Duck Learns to Swim to excited first grade classroom students.
The book (which includes a catchy sing-along) promotes water safety and emphasizes the three rules for young children. The rules, which will be reiterated by firefighters, include: don’t jump in until you learn to swim, cover your chest with a safe life vest and a grown-up must watch you in the pool. According to Riverside City Fire Chief, Michael Moore, the Department is excited and committed to helping its citizen promote this Water Safety Program that saves young children’s lives.
“The Riverside Fire Department is always concerned about the safety of our personnel and the safety of the public,” stated Fire Chief Moore. “Drowning’s are 100% preventable, and we are committed to preventing all drowning’s in the City of Riverside and adjacent communities. Stewie the Duck is one of those water safety programs that we feel will assist us with reaching our goal of zero drowning’s.”
Riverside City Fire Captain, David A. Hernandez, a 23 year veteran of the RFD, was made aware of the nationally recognized Water Safety Program and immediately wanted to introduce it to the RFD. “The goal is to reduce water-related emergencies throughout our City,” said Cpt. Hernandez. “Our commitment as firefighters is to not only answer emergency calls but also to prevent tragedies and educate the public about the seriousness of all water-related emergencies.” There are more than 3,428 1st Grade students that will be reading “Stewie the Duck Learns to Swim”.
Drowning is the second-leading cause of death to children ages 1-4 in the United States and the number one cause of death to children ages 1-4 in most southern states. In many cases, drowning is a silent occurrence, without splashing or a call for help and also in most areas of the country, the majority of children drowning occurs in backyard pools & spas.
Riverside Unified School District Assistant Superintendent (K-12 Instruction) stated, “Our district is fortunate to have been chosen by Riverside Fire Department to be a part of this great cause. Our students’ safety is our first priority, and Stewie the Duck water safety program will provide every first grade student at our district with a powerful message that will make a lasting impression on children.”
The Drowning Prevention Program is also supported by the Riverside City Firefighters Union Local #1067 and the Riverside Optimist Club, as both groups are actively committed to the safety of children and its residents. Riverside Fire Captain and Union President, Tim Strack, stated, “The Riverside City Firefighters Association is committed to partnering with the community to educate and minimize drowning risk with outreach and education in the community.”