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Paramedics speak out about pool safety

Paramedics say it only takes a second for the drowning process to begin which is why watching your child while they are in the pool is key to preventing a tragedy.

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah (Good 4 Utah) – In hopes of preventing families from tragedies like Sundays drowning in Cottonwood Heights Good 4 Utah spoke with water safety experts to find out what we need to know to keep our children safe. 

Paramedics say it only takes a second for the drowning process to begin which is why watching your child while they are in the pool is key to preventing a tragedy.

 “A lot of times we have this idea we'll hear a distress call from a child, we'll hear the help, help and see the thrashing in the water and that's usually not the case. Because what causes the initial emergency in the first place is taking a gulp of water,” said Desmond Johnson a water rescue expert with Unified Fire Authority

Johnsons says it's that gulp of water that causes the problem and prevents a child from calling for help and more often than not, allowing them to slip quietly under the water. “How many times have we heard that exact statement, it was just a second, I turned away for just a second and something happened and unfortunately it can literally be just those seconds,” said Johnson.

Already this summer Unified Fire Authority has responded to 12  drowning and near drowning emergency calls, one of those just Sunday at the Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center which ended tragically for one 7-year-old.

Johnson says the drowning wasn't the first of the season, but hopes it is the last and wants to remind everyone to play it safe. “Swim within your limits, don't go in the deep end because of their buddies are jumping in, or feel pressured to do something,” He goes on to say, “The hardest thing I think is to realize there are lifeguards, but they can't see everywhere in the pool at all times and they do their best certainly, but it's really up to the parents responsibility to be aware of where the children are.”

Pool safety expert Kael Ashton agrees and says although lifeguards are hyper-vigilant they can't see it all. “The lifeguards do have a responsibility but it can get busy at times and that's where we really try to stress safety and ask parents to take some responsibility as well,” said Ashton.

Unified Fire Authority also wants to remind the public nobody is immune from drowning. “Even expert swimmers can have an accident.”

For more information on pool safety, visit http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/water-safety

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