In conjunction with the kickoff of the community's annual "April Pools" drowning prevention effort, the Clark County Commission will present a proclamation at Tuesday's Commission meeting recognizing the Southern Nevada Chapter of the International Code Council for its efforts to promote swimming lessons and water safety.
The Commission will recognize the Southern Nevada Chapter of the International Code Council for donating $28,500 to drowning prevention efforts this year, including $2,500 to Clark County and each jurisdiction in Southern Nevada to provide free swimming lessons for low-income children. The funding also will provide $5,000 to the Southern Nevada Drowning Prevention Coalition and $6,000 to the Southern Nevada Health District's Water Watcher program. Clark County's Fire Department, Parks and Recreation Department and Building & Fire Prevention Department are partners in the effort in addition to the local cities, fire departments, University Medical Center, pool builders and supply companies, Clark County Safe Kids, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police, and other agencies and organizations.
"Drowning prevention is a community problem that requires community partnership to address," said
Clark County Commissioner Jim Gibson, who is presenting Tuesday's recognition item. "We want to thank the Southern Nevada Chapter of the International Code Council for their ongoing financial support of local efforts to prevent drownings and encourage water safety public education initiatives."
Drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death among Clark County children aged 1-4 years, according to the Southern Nevada Health District. There are 115,000 residential swimming pools, 5,800 residential spas, and 4,000 commercial pools and spas throughout Clark County, making the risk of drowning ever-present.
"Drownings can occur any time of year in our community, but the risks increase as the weather warms up and swimming pools become a popular pastime for children and families," said Clark County Fire Chief Greg Cassell. "Make sure children are always supervised any time they are around water, and make sure children cannot gain access to your pool when adults aren't present."
As part of the community's drowning prevention efforts, coalition members urge all adults to take a pledge to be a Water Watcher every time children in their care are in or near water. Parents also are encouraged to ask about Water Watcher plans whenever they leave their children near water and under the supervision of another adult. Pledge cards will be distributed in English and Spanish at outreach events in the community and are available to be downloaded from the drowning prevention pages of the Health District's website at www.SNHD.info. Water Watcher pledge cards and lanyards also are available to the public at Clark County pools.
Additionally, Clark County created a PSA to help the Southern Nevada Health District and Southern Nevada Child Drowning Prevention Coalition promote water safety. The PSA has been shared with local media and is airing on Clark County Television and is posted on the County's social media sites including YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. The following three steps are recommended to prevent drownings:
- Patrol – Always designate an adult Water Watcher to actively watch children in the water, including pools, bathtubs, or other bodies of water.
- Protect – Install barriers between your home and pool to ensure safety including fences, door alarms, locks and spa safety covers. Lock doggie doors children can't crawl through them.
- Prepare – Create a water safety plan for your family. Enroll children in swimming lessons, take adult CPR classes, and be sure to equip your pool with proper safety equipment including life jackets, personal floatation devices and rescue tools. If an emergency happens, have a telephone nearby to call 9-1-1.
Clark County offers swimming lessons year-round at its Desert Breeze and Hollywood Aquatics Center. Most pools offer swim lessons during the summer months as well. Registration for the first session of summer swim lessons begins Tuesday, May 14 when mail-in registrations will be accepted. Online registration, recommended as the most efficient way to sign up, starts Friday, May 17. Walk-in registration starts Monday, May 20. In 2018, Clark County's pools had more than 18,000 enrollments in its aquatics programs, most of which were swimming lessons. Swimming lessons are available for children as young as 6 months to adults and address skill levels from introductory to advance.