Swim Safety Still A Priority: AvoidTragedy This Holiday Weekend

FRESNO , CA ( September 6, 2005) – The Water Safety Council of Fresno County (WSC), Children’s Hospital of Central California and the City of Fresno Department of Parks, Recreation & Community Services (PRCS) would like to urge all citizens to heed great caution when enjoying recreational activities in and near water this holiday weekend. The threat of drowning is just as evident now as it was in the peak of the summer months and inevitably someone will be the victim of drowning this weekend.

The proactive efforts of these agencies led to free swim lessons for 200 Fresno youth this summer. Following a donation of $1,000 from the Water Safety Council and $1,000 from Children’s Hospital, the PRCS Aquatics program offered lessons at cost (reduced from $20 to $10) to allow 200 children the opportunity to have swim lessons. The PRCS Aquatics program reaches about 3,000 youth each summer and provides the most affordable swim lessons in Fresno.

The Water Safety Council is looking for community partners to step forward with a donation to support next summer’s swim lesson program to allow as many children as possible the opportunity to learn how to swim. In California, drowning is the number one cause of unintentional injuries for children under five and the National Safety Council reports that drowning is responsible for about 4,000 deaths nationally each year.

WSC has been educating adults and kids about staying safe around water since 1982. WSC membership includes Children's Hospital Central California, Clovis Fire Dept., Fresno County Community Health, Fresno Metro Flood Control, Mark Simonian, M.D., the Fresno Irrigation District, Kings River Conservation District, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. WSC outreach efforts include: elementary school curriculum and video, one on one contact with people at local water recreation sites, free water safety training for child-care providers and parents and most recently swim lesson scholarships for kids. For information on how you can support the Water Safety Council or participate in next summer’s free swim lesson program, contact any of the following:

WSC Chair, Dr. Pouran Nowzari Fresno County Department of Community Health's Child Health & Disability Prevention program. Office: 445-3281, Cell: 906-0362

WSC Founding Member, Mark Simonian, M.D. Childnet Medical Associates Office: 325-6850, Cell: 273-4439

WSC Member, Mary Jo Quintero, RN, CCRN Children's Hospital Central CA - Pediatric Intensive Care Unit Transport Coordinator
Pager: 446-4056

To learn more about the PRCS Aquatics program, call 621-6604.

Andrew T. Souza , City Manager
Contact: Ken Shockley, Public Affairs Officer: (559) 621-7777

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