Make a splash, learn water safety at city pools SanTan Sun News

Make a splash, learn water safety at city pools

Make a splash, learn water safety at city pools
Family Fun
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By COLLEEN SPARKS
Managing Editor

People have their pick of three different City of Chandler pools to splash around in this weekend and besides having fun can gain crucial, life-saving tips to ensure young swimmers stay safe in the water.

Hamilton Aquatic Center at 3838 S. Arizona Ave. will reopen today, May 4, after being open for much of March but closed for April. Nozomi Aquatic Center at 250 S. Kyrene Road will also open today, May 4, while Mesquite Groves Aquatic Center at 5901 S. Hillcrest Drive will remain open today after previously kicking off the swim season early in March.

The City of Chandler will provide Water Safety Day from noon to 5 p.m. today, May 4, at Hamilton Aquatic Center.

Firefighters and lifeguards will provide CPR demonstrations and children can take part in tests to evaluate their swimming abilities so they know what level of swim classes to take.

Also at the Water Safety Day, lifeguards will demonstrate to the public how they rescue people in danger in the water and anyone can play water safety Bingo for a chance to win free City of Chandler swimming lessons. The goal is to give away swim lessons to 40 families.

Free swim will take place from noon to 5 p.m. while the CPR demonstration will start 1 p.m. and swim tests will be offered at 1:30 and then 2:30 p.m. Water activities and games will be going on from 1 to 3 p.m. and the demonstration of rescue techniques will be delivered at 2 p.m.

Prior to the Water Safety Day activities, firefighters and lifeguards will walk local neighborhoods and knock on the doors of homes to talk to people about water safety.

They will walk the area between McClintock Drive on the east and Rural Road on the west as well as Chandler Boulevard on the south and Ray Road on the north as that is an area where the most water-related incidents have been reported, Battalion Chief Jeff West with the Chandler Fire Department said.

West said the city fire and aquatics departments wanted to talk to people, rather than just drop off fliers with information on water safety at their doors.

“We thought the impact would be more having a firefighter and lifeguard together,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of success, a lot of people engage in conversation out there. It helps to see someone in uniform. Kids are getting out of school; it’s warmer. We just want to drive the message home now and continue it through August.”

This month is National Water Safety Month and August is Drowning Impact Awareness Month.

Firefighters and lifeguards will talk to people about the ABCs of water safety while visiting the neighborhoods.

Those are A for adult supervision, meaning an adult should always watch a child in and near the water, B for “barriers,” meaning latches and locks should always be in place around pools to keep youths out of water when they are not supposed to be there and C for “classes.”

Experts recommend all children take swimming classes.

West said he and other officials also encourage people to get their certification in CPR in case they need to save someone who accidentally submerges in the water and is at risk of dying. Last year Chandler Police Department received 15 calls about water-related incidents and 14 of them were for children, he said.

“We track any water-related incident because we know it’s not just isolated to pools,” West said, adding calls can be regarding issues in ponds, toilets and bath tubs.

Every year about 4,000 people drown in the United States and drowning kills more children ages 1 to 4 years old than anything else except for birth defects, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The other part of the message is we want people to feel safe around water,” West said. “It’s a fun thing. To do that, you have to be safe around it as well.”

Jessica Chamberlain, recreation coordinator in aquatics for the City of Chandler, said children who do not know how to swim are encouraged to wear Coast Guard-approved life jackets when visiting pools.

The City of Chandler pools loan these types of life jackets to kids at the aquatic centers. However, adults are still encouraged to always stay within an arm’s length of their children in the water.

Lifeguards for the City of Chandler pools have already been hired for the season. It takes almost 300 lifeguards to operate at all of the city’s pools, but adults still need to monitor their children in the water.

“Lifeguards are secondary to adult supervision,” Chamberlain said.

Besides the serious message, city officials will also aim to make Water Safety Day fun by giving away sunglasses, temporary tattoos and other items to the public.

Chandler’s pools offer lots of bells and whistles for those who like swimming laps and anyone seeking thrills as they cool off in the water. All of the city’s pools except for Folley Pool at 600 E Fairview St. have water slides.

Desert Oasis Aquatic Center at 1400 W. Summit Place has not only the twisty, turning figure-eight slide but also a drop slide where the bottom of the slide ends above the water, sending swimmers straight down into the pool. Every city pool also has diving boards except for Desert Oasis.

Mesquite Groves Aquatic Center on South Hillcrest Drive is usually the busiest of the city’s pools, drawing a little over 700 people every day in the summer, Chamberlain said. At least one or two lanes of each city pool are open for lap swimming during public swimming times.

“We definitely gear our facilities to be suitable for the whole family,” Chamberlain said.

Folley Pool is getting upgrades with a new rock-climbing wall being built. It will hang over the water and people can climb it and then jump into the diving area of the pool.

The City of Chandler offers swimming lessons, swim teams, diving classes and other water activities. Information: chandleraz.gov/explore/chandler-aquatics/centers-and-pools.

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