Drowning awareness week a focus at M.L. aquatic centre

By Kathy Gallant
July 17, 2018 - 5:00pm

When it comes to water safety, the staff at the Meadow Lake Aquatic Centre do their best to remain diligent at all times. But this week, to coincide with National Drowning prevention week, there are a host of activities both educational and fun to help spread awareness.

Among a few other things, the pool is hosting a colouring contest, free swims, and they also have a poster board in their lobby filled with information for families to stay safe in the pool and other bodies of water. Some tips include wearing a life jacket and swimming with a buddy.

Pool Manager Macylin Relitz said there are a number of stringent rules, including not allowing children under the age of six into the pool on their own and giving them wristbands so they can be easily spotted by rescuers. As well, there is a swimmer-to-lifeguard ratio the guards follow. She said employees also keep the number of people in the pool at one time to the 100-mark. At 100, there are four guards on duty. All lifeguards must have a minimum of a Bronze Cross certificate, but Relitz also highly encourage her staff to take National Lifeguard Service qualifications.

While there hasn’t been a near-drowning experience in recent history at the facility, Relitz keeps track of how often they have to jump into the pool to help prevent a potential incident from arising. The last time a jump-in occurred was Dec. 1, 2017.

“A kid went into the deep-end, and they couldn’t touch, so they were just struggling to stay above water,” Relitz said. “That’s why our guards are constantly scanning the pool. Our water has to stay as clear as possible so we can see the bottom of the deep end in the corners especially.”

She said the public has had positive feedback thus far this week from kids and parents alike.

“The kids are really loving the colouring pages,” Relitz said. “It’s an activity for them to do but it also teaches them the skills and the knowledge for being around water.”

 

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