“Summer Splash-tacular” set for Saturday

July 26, 2006

East Pierce Fire and Rescue is sponsoring “Summer Splash-tacular” from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at Pierce County Park on Lake Tapps.

The free event will feature water safety demonstrations and fun activities. Discounted life jackets will be offered for sale. Loaner life jackets will also be available. Fire crews, including members of the Water Rescue Team, will be on hand between calls.

Although the event is free, there is an entrance fee for the park.

East Pierce Public Education Coordinator Dina Sutherland notes that drowning is the second-leading cause of injury death for children 17 and younger in Washington state. According to the Washington State Department of Health, drowning accounts for an average of 24 deaths, 26 hospitalizations for near-drowning events and more than 100 visits to the emergency department annually.

The event will spotlight safety measures children and their families can take while on or near open water like Lake Tapps.

“Every year, 74 percent of the children in Washington who drown, lose their lives in open water such a lake, river, pond, the Sound or a creek,” Sutherland said. “We want to do everything we can to make sure that doesn't happen here.”

Many of the victims were merely sitting or playing near the water when they drowned.

East Pierce personnel will provide information and answer questions about the dangers of hypothermia and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, two particular concerns for swimmers and boaters on Lake Tapps.

Splash-tacular is scheduled in conjunction with a statewide event coordinated by the Washington State Drowning Prevention Network. Founded in 1994 with the Washington State Department of Health, Office of Emergency Medical and Trauma Prevention, the organization focuses on developing regional drowning prevention programs and addressing adolescent drowning prevention.

East Pierce Fire and Rescue offers these tips for keeping safe around water this summer.

€ Constantly watch children in or near the water. Keep young children within arm's reach.

€ Assign adults to watch children at social events.

€ Never drink or allow the use of alcohol or other drugs during water and boating activities or while supervising children.

€ Make sure children learn to swim. Upgrade their swimming skills each year.

€ Be aware that cold water can kill, even on hot summer days. If a swimmer becomes cold or tired, stay close to shore and rest.

€ Wear a life vest if swimming in Lake Tapps or nearby rivers and lakes. It's easy to misjudge the water and swimming skills. Trouble can happen quickly.

€ Never swim alone, always use the buddy system.

€ Everyone should always wear a life vest when on a boat, inner tube or raft. Children also need life vests on docks and when they are near the water.

€ Make sure the life vest is U.S. Coast Guard approved.

€ Bring a cell phone or know where to find the nearest phone. Dial 9-1-1 in an emergency.

€ Learn child and adult CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). East Pierce Fire and Rescue offers regular CPR and first aid classes, free of charge to citizens within the East Pierce and Sumner fire districts and Pierce County Fire District No. 1. Check the Web site,, for dates and time.

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