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October 28, 2017 3:24 am

City Promotes National Drowning Prevention Week With Safety Sessions

Thursday, July 16, 2015 @ 3:54 AM

Prince George, B.C. – There have been 25 drowning deaths in B.C. this year, and the peak season for such tragedies is nowhere near over.

National Drowning Prevention Week runs from this Sunday through the 25th.

Wendy Schultenkamper is the Education Director for the Lifesaving Society of BC/Yukon. She says on a beautiful summer day when people head to the water to cool off, tragedy can happen   because of a variety of factors “Maybe perhaps they over estimated their swimming ability, or maybe didn’t know the area they’re in very well. Unfortunately a lot of the drownings we see, the person never intended to go into the water, maybe they fell overboard, fell off a dock , perhaps got pushed into the water, or   they chose to stay in shallow water because they knew they weren’t a strong swimmer, but didn’t realize there was a sudden drop off.”

Then there is the added dynamic of the current in a river, “Often with a river, the moving water creates a lot of challenges.   Depending on the type of run off, you could have much colder temperatures. You’ve also got boulders, log jams, snags, all kinds of different things that can cause a swimmer, even a strong swimmer, distress.”

She says there are some simple things people can do to be better prepared. First, find out more about the area where you plan to swim “Is it a designated beach, are there any drop offs, are there any hazards that I should be aware of? If I’m not a strong swimmer, should I be going in? If I am going in, should I perhaps be wearing a personal floatation device (PFD) of some type?”

Shultenkamper says often, people just don’t think this kind of situation will happen to them “They don’t realize how quickly things can change, and we can’t always see the bottom of the lakes and rivers where we swim, so a drop off can quickly change your day.”

Starting on Sunday, the City of Prince George will promote water safety by hosting safety-related events at the Aquatic Centre and the Four Seasons Pool.

From 1:30 to 4:30 July 19th through to 25, residents are encouraged to take the “Swim to Survive” challenge at the pools. Training will take about half an hour, and the Challenge will three skills the Lifesaving Society are the minimum skills needed to survive an unexpected fall into deep water:

  • ROLL into deep water
  • TREAD water for one minute
  • SWIM 50 metres

Lifeguards will also be teaching life jacket and personal floatation device safety.

The Lifesaving Society has several safety messages it would like people to adopt, but says given the current drowning statistics in B.C., and the fact most of the drownings are related to boating incidents, there is one message she hopes people will take to heart “Anytime you are on a boat, whether you’re a strong swimmer or not, that it’s very important that you wear your PFDs.”


don’t breath under water….
had a six year old tell me that one ,
sounded like pretty sound advice to me.

Having had a few close calls myself., plus losing a few friends over the years I agree that safety sessions etc; are necessary. The problem is trying to get people to attend, and of course to practice safety on the water.

Some of the shenanigans I see on the water scares the hell out of me.

I am lucky, my dad taught me to swim, he took me out into the middle of the lake and threw me overboard. It wasn’t so bad, but it was kind of hard getting the rocks off me and getting that gunny sack untied.

Interesting that you would know about gunny sacks and rocks Sophic Sage. Among other things you are showing your age.

Swimming should be compulsory in schools.

Never assume Palopu, an old timer told me that joke and I am just passing it along, hoping it will bring a laugh or put a smile on someone’s face. See NyteHawwk, I am not just all about politics.

I am however confused, NyteHawwk tells me to get out of mommies basement, and to stop suckling on her teat, while you Palopu are assuming I am much older. Which is it?

Sophic, weren’t you complaining last week about cross posting, how wrong it is & no one on the other sites you frequent ever does it? As for how old you are? In one of your last incarnations on this site as People First, you claimed to be a poor student living in your parents basement. Judging by your writing style & how you express your opinions? Early 20’s.

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