The Wilton Fire Department, Police Department and Dive Rescue Team have joined forces and are taking a proactive approach to water safety by declaring April 30, “April POOLS Day.” In an effort to bring a keener situational awareness to water safety for the Town, Fire Chief Ronald Kanterman has written this op-ed.

Yes, you read it right. April POOLS Day is coming. April 30 will be declared April POOLS Day in Wilton. We as a Town are going to kick off the pool and swimming season in the right frame of mind and heighten situational awareness of the dangers of water activities. The Fire Department, Police Department and the Wilton Dive Rescue Team (staffed jointly by fire and police personnel) are about to embark on a Town-wide drown prevention program. Why are we doing this?

  1. It’s part and parcel to our overall “Community Risk Reduction” plan.
  2. We have a lot of privately owned pools in Town along with public pools and swimming areas.
  3. All of the drown prevention programs we have studied and researched had a child’s name on it. We’re naming ours “The Wilton Drown Prevention Program.”
  4. Being pro-active with programs such as these creates a well informed and safer Town.

Some introductory facts:

  1. We have 940 in-ground privately owned pools in Town.
  2. Home pool drowning is a leading cause of death for children younger than age 5.
  3. Children are out of sight less than five minutes and under the care of one or both parents at the time of many home pool drownings which have occurred throughout the nation.

Things to think about as you open your pool for the season:

  1. Store and use pool chemicals safely.
  2. Check your fence and insure the gate closes and latches properly.
  3. Check house door alarms and floating pool alarms for proper operation.
  4. Learn how to safely respond to water emergencies (CPR, First Aid, Lifeguarding, Basic Water Rescue) by taking a class.
  5. Enroll your non-swimmers in a swimming class. No one is drown-proof and remember that no one can learn how to swim in two or three lessons.
  6. Make sure your hot tub is covered securely when not in use.

We will run a series of articles regarding April POOLS Day through local media, social media and Town web sites for reference and will continue through the summer and swimming season. Please read these in the interest of the safety of your children, your family, your friends  or perhaps yourself. Happy April POOLS Day!

For more information on water safety and drown prevention, go to the Red Cross Water Safety website or the Prevent Drownings website.