Mayday! Water Safety

 

It is time for our annual summer safety briefing, a week before Memorial Day weekend. Multiple deaths from drowning have already made the news, and we know there will be more preventable deaths. The American military has a long tradition of weekly safety briefings, with the contents shifting with the season and occasion. Listen up, this is your water safety briefing for National Drowning Prevention Month.

May is National Drowning Prevention Awareness Month, but in the Valley, three children have already drowned in May.

[ . . . ]

According to officials, adults can also be victims of drowning. So far, nine adults have drowned in 2021 in the Valley, and the most dangerous holiday – Memorial Day – is fast approaching.

Got to love “according to officials.” Safety briefings got to be so routine that leaders would search for ways to make them fresh. Sometimes, the youngest soldier would be called out of formation and directed to give an extemporaneous safety briefing. This created a rooting interest in the ranks, and showed that everyone really knew the content, the basics of the risks around them. Another technique was to offer clever saying or comedy:

Water and alcohol mix great in a glass,

NOT in the pool.

A friend just got back from tubing on a popular local river in Arizona. They reported they were delayed getting onto the river because emergency vehicles were blocking the road, trying to rescue a drowning victim. The victim did not seem to be responding to CPR. I have not yet found this story reported in the local news, but found plenty of other stories just from this past week in Arizona.

Whether floating down a river or boating on the lake or sea, it pays to have a designated driver, a lifeguard. Someone needs to be sober when, not if, people are on the edge of danger.

Canals are deadly.

A pleasant walk, run, or bike ride along a canal should be uneventful. Some canals are even stocked with fish for your sport. However, the appearance of a canal’s surface water can be very deceptive. There may be a faster running undercurrent, and the water may be deeper than any pool. Consider this Gila Bend canal drowning story with an illegal immigration angle:

This week, the bodies of three men were found in separate locations in the Paloma Canal near Interstate 8 and Paloma Road. The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office said the remains were found by an irrigation district employee on Sunday.

[ . . . ]

In the dark, after walking for several days, migrants will sometimes stumble into them and can’t get out.

“The way canals are shaped, if you’re on top, it actually pulls you to the bottom,” said [Gila Bend mayor Chris] Riggs. “So, no matter what, they are getting sucked all the way to the bottom.”

The current in most canals can also be deceiving, as calm waters can be seen on the surface, but a faster current is normally flowing down below, ranging from 15 to 20 feet per irrigation canal.

Police, with the assistance of several civilians, recently rescued a paraplegic man whose motorized wheelchair tipped into a Phoenix area canal late at night.

How a man in a wheelchair came to be in a Phoenix canal last Sunday is unclear. One thing is for sure, he’s lucky to be alive after being carried away downstream and becoming trapped in the flowing water.

It was last Saturday near 36th Street and Baseline when a disabled man in a wheelchair somehow fell out of his seat and was swept 50 feet in the current before a metal grate stopped him. Witnesses who saw him floundering in the water called 911 and officers were soon on scene.

[ . . . ]

“He was crying for help that’s how they knew he was there. If they weren’t there, I’m not sure what would happen it could have been really bad,” said [Phoenix police officer Jacob] Garcia. One of the bystanders had a rope laying around, so the officers used it to get the man out of the water. “I don’t know where he had rope from but thank God he did have a rope with him. By the time we got here he was able to fashion it somewhat into a loop to place around him,” said Hopkins.

Pools are kid magnets.

Every year small children drown in pools, and it is always a surprise. A one year old and a seven year old girl died in apartment pools this past week:

A 1-year-old girl, who was in critical condition Saturday following a near-drowning at an apartment complex pool near Baseline and Rural roads in Tempe, has died.

[ . . . ]

There is no new information on the events leading up to the [near-]drowning.

A 7-year-old girl died following a drowning at a Chandler apartment pool on Wednesday evening, authorities said.

Chandler police responded to a drowning call around 6:15 p.m. at a complex near Ray Road and Arizona Avenue.

[ . . . ]

Police said Thursday that the girl, who resided with her family at the complex, had been at the pool by herself, but they didn’t know how she got into the gated area.

It is not just kids who die in pools. That old safety briefing about alcohol and water was based in decades of reports. We do not get the facts about intoxication or other impairment in public news reports, but they are likely at play in most adult pool drownings.

Woman found at bottom of Phoenix pool drowns

A woman has died after being found at the bottom of a pool at a home near I-17 and Carefree Highway, the Phoenix Fire Department said.

The woman was pronounced deceased at the scene by paramedics, the fire department said. The scene has been turned over to Phoenix Police Department.

No other details have been released.

However pleasant it is to get out of the heat and into a home pool, if no one is there with you, you will either self-rescue or not. Have a great Memorial Day weekend and summer. Enjoy the water, whether a pool, pond, river, or ocean. And. You know how to do so safely. To make the point with humor, I give you Foster Brooks:

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  1. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    #defundwater

    • #1
  2. JustmeinAZ Member
    JustmeinAZ
    @JustmeinAZ

    Maybe I should just never leave the house again.

    • #2
  3. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Stop by and sign up now for “May Day, Mayday, May Days.”

    There are two major monthly Group Writing projects. One is the Quote of the Day project, now managed by @she. This is the other project, in which Ricochet members claim a day of the month to write on a proposed theme. This is an easy way to expose your writing to a general audience, with a bit of accountability and topical guidance to encourage writing for its own sake.

    Interested in Group Writing topics that came before? See the handy compendium of monthly themes. Check out links in the Group Writing Group. You can also join the group to get a notification when a new monthly theme is posted.

    • #3
  4. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    #defundwater

    Don’t tempt the left. Controlling water controls populations.

    • #4
  5. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    JustmeinAZ (View Comment):

    Maybe I should just never leave the house again.

    Watch out for the meteors and bedbugs! 

    • #5
  6. lowtech redneck Coolidge
    lowtech redneck
    @lowtech redneck

    Clifford A. Brown:

    Listen up, this is your water safety briefing for National Drowning Prevention Month.

    Introducing the official spokesman, MrBallen (this was the first of a 20 episode playlist titled ‘cave-diving’; they’re not all about cave-diving, but that-and drowning in general-is one of his favorite themes):

    • #6
  7. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    I’m continually amazed at the numbers of families who have pools but have members of their immediate family who can’t swim.   
    Or who routinely rly go to the beach but can’t swim.

    Both my kids earned summer money lifeguarding and came home with unbelievable stories.

    • #7
  8. colleenb Member
    colleenb
    @colleenb

    There was an article in the Washington Post magazine (back when it was interesting and not just all anti-Trump all the time) about a man who almost drowned in the C&O Canal. He was running in the evening with his dog and slipped and fell in the canal. The dog was able to get him saved by barking, etc. In this case, he was not expecting to be in the water but ended up there anyway. Have a safe summer everyone.

    • #8
  9. Bishop Wash Member
    Bishop Wash
    @BishopWash

    Clifford A. Brown: The American military has a long tradition of weekly safety briefings, with the contents shifting with the season and occasion.

    At the end of every May the Air Force would begin its 101 Days of Summer warnings, between Memorial Day and Labor Day, as it was expected more Airmen would be enjoying outdoor activities. When I got to Davis-Monthan in Tucson the joke was that the timeline was inverted as more people stayed inside during those days to avoid the oppressive heat but the rest of the year was beautiful.

    • #9
  10. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree
    @CACrabtree

    Here in Appalachia, especially down by the Ohio River, we usually have a few drownings that immediately follow the words, “Hey ya’all, watch this!”

    Those words, usually mean that one of our own will disappear into the water never to be seen again until County or State Police divers recover the body.

    Ah, the joys of summer.  (Please, no comments about winnowing the herd.)

    • #10
  11. Boss Mongo Member
    Boss Mongo
    @BossMongo

    How many of my long and short weekends have begun, during the safety brief, with the words, “Men, don’t go swimming in the Chatahootchie!

    • #11
  12. Gazpacho Grande' Coolidge
    Gazpacho Grande'
    @ChrisCampion

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown: The American military has a long tradition of weekly safety briefings, with the contents shifting with the season and occasion.

    At the end of every May the Air Force would begin its 101 Days of Summer warnings, between Memorial Day and Labor Day, as it was expected more Airmen would be enjoying outdoor activities. When I got to Davis-Monthan in Tucson the joke was that the timeline was inverted as more people stayed inside during those days to avoid the oppressive heat but the rest of the year was beautiful.

    I work for a utility company, and they have an annual “Summer of Safety” campaign, 100 days of summer, that kind of thing.  Might be easy to fall asleep on these things but just the number of children drowning, annually, was a much bigger number than I thought.  

    https://www.stopdrowningnow.org/

    Every day, approximately 10 people die from unintentional drowning. Of these, two are children age 14 or younger.

    • #12
  13. Midwest Southerner Coolidge
    Midwest Southerner
    @MidwestSoutherner

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    How many of my long and short weekends have begun, during the safety brief, with the words, “Men, don’t go swimming in the Chatahootchie!

    I can count on one hand the number of times I swam or rafted in The Hootch during the 25 years I lived in Atlanta. That river is treacherous. And also kinda gross in some spots. Just sayin’.

    • #13
  14. Midwest Southerner Coolidge
    Midwest Southerner
    @MidwestSoutherner

    We live in Eastern Nebraska, almost equidistant from Omaha and Lincoln. Beautiful area with an abundance of lakes (20 near us at the Fremont Lakes State Recreation Area) and the Platte River winds around our town and down to the Platte River State Park. There is never a shortage of accidents at the lakes because, well, people + alcohol + boats = danger. The river, while it looks safe and harmless, has a wicked current in some spots. Lots of fun to be had, especially on the air boats. Hopefully everyone plays safe and smart this weekend.

    • #14
  15. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree
    @CACrabtree

    Midwest Southerner (View Comment):

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    How many of my long and short weekends have begun, during the safety brief, with the words, “Men, don’t go swimming in the Chatahootchie!

    I can count on one hand the number of times I swam or rafted in The Hootch during the 25 years I lived in Atlanta. That river is treacherous. And also kinda gross in some spots. Just sayin’.

    Yeah, were you around when they had the great “Chatahootchie River Race” every year?  They finally had to end it because so many of the natives were getting drunk and falling off their home made watercraft.  (As I recall, a few of them drowned.)

    • #15
  16. Midwest Southerner Coolidge
    Midwest Southerner
    @MidwestSoutherner

    CACrabtree (View Comment):

    Midwest Southerner (View Comment):

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    How many of my long and short weekends have begun, during the safety brief, with the words, “Men, don’t go swimming in the Chatahootchie!

    I can count on one hand the number of times I swam or rafted in The Hootch during the 25 years I lived in Atlanta. That river is treacherous. And also kinda gross in some spots. Just sayin’.

    Yeah, were you around when they had the great “Chatahootchie River Race” every year? They finally had to end it because so many of the natives were getting drunk and falling off their home made watercraft. (As I recall, a few of them drowned.)

    Oh yes, I remember those well. I participated once. Only once. Many stories to tell — names have been changed to protect the, well, you know.

    • #16
  17. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    colleenb (View Comment):

    There was an article in the Washington Post magazine (back when it was interesting and not just all anti-Trump all the time) about a man who almost drowned in the C&O Canal. He was running in the evening with his dog and slipped and fell in the canal. The dog was able to get him saved by barking, etc. In this case, he was not expecting to be in the water but ended up there anyway. Have a safe summer everyone.

    That warrants steak instead of kibble for a while.

    • #17
  18. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    CACrabtree (View Comment):

    Here in Appalachia, especially down by the Ohio River, we usually have a few drownings that immediately follow the words, “Hey ya’all, watch this!”

    Those words, usually mean that one of our own will disappear into the water never to be seen again until County or State Police divers recover the body.

    Ah, the joys of summer. (Please, no comments about winnowing the herd.)

    “Hold my beer!”

    • #18
  19. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown: The American military has a long tradition of weekly safety briefings, with the contents shifting with the season and occasion.

    At the end of every May the Air Force would begin its 101 Days of Summer warnings, between Memorial Day and Labor Day, as it was expected more Airmen would be enjoying outdoor activities. When I got to Davis-Monthan in Tucson the joke was that the timeline was inverted as more people stayed inside during those days to avoid the oppressive heat but the rest of the year was beautiful.

    Yes, and yet the local running water rivers and lakes attract people every weekend. A different safety briefing point, but the 101 Days o Summer are when people in Arizona decide they can go for a hike or run without adequate hydration, leading to heat injuries.

    • #19
  20. Bishop Wash Member
    Bishop Wash
    @BishopWash

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown: The American military has a long tradition of weekly safety briefings, with the contents shifting with the season and occasion.

    At the end of every May the Air Force would begin its 101 Days of Summer warnings, between Memorial Day and Labor Day, as it was expected more Airmen would be enjoying outdoor activities. When I got to Davis-Monthan in Tucson the joke was that the timeline was inverted as more people stayed inside during those days to avoid the oppressive heat but the rest of the year was beautiful.

    Yes, and yet the local running water rivers and lakes attract people every weekend. A different safety briefing point, but the 101 Days o Summer are when people in Arizona decide they can go for a hike or run without adequate hydration, leading to heat injuries.

    Fortunately the unit never had a tragic accident happen while I was there. Every safety briefing included “hydrate”. You wouldn’t think people would need that reminder but as you say people think they can get by without it.

    • #20