Ask Trooper Rob: Make water safety a summer priorityPublished 10:53pm Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Although the summer is half through, many people are enjoying time in the water, whether it is pools, small lakes or the Great Lakes shorelines.
With drowning occurring with young people every year, county child death review teams look at these deaths and have discovered that many could have been prevented just by having an adult or even another person present.
Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury-related death in children ages 1 to 14. No one is “drown proof,” no matter his or her level of swimming ability. Falls, entrapments and injuries lead to drowning, regardless of swimming proficiency. Drowning can occur in as little as two minutes. Irreversible brain damage can occur in as little as four minutes. Children who drown are out of sight or missing for less than five minutes. Many children die who are submerged for as little as six to 10 minutes. Children who drown may not scream, call for help, splash or struggle. They can silently slip beneath the water, even with adults and lifeguards present.
By following some basic safety tips, let’s keep summer safe. These tips come from two sources, Colin’s Hope and Radkids:
• Never swim alone. Always swim with a buddy.
• Only swim where a lifeguard or parent can see you.
• Never try to save a friend in trouble. Yell for help. If someone needs help, call 911.
• Children who can’t swim should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket. Do not rely on water wings, floats or other toys to keep children safe.
• Prevention can be akey to saving lives. Take swim lessons. By learning to swim, studies have shown that drowning is reduced by 88 percent for children younger than 4.
• Assign an adult “water guardian” whose only responsibility is to watch children who are in the water.
• Install pool fences, self-closing, self-latching gates and door alarms in areas leading to pools and hot tubs.
• Dump all water buckets and empty kiddie pools when not in use.
• Never leave small children unattended in the bathtub.
• Always check the pool or hot tub first for a missing child (especially children with autism). Make sure to look at the bottom of the pool or hot tub, as children may appear to be shadows that can be overlooked.
• Learn CPR and recertify yearly.
• Have a phone nearby for 911 emergencies.
A simple tip we teach the children in our Radkids class is, “If there is no adult at the pool, then there is no you at the pool.”
Radkids is a safety and empowerment class that teaches basic safety tips to children 5 to 7 and 8 to 12 years old. Colin’s Hope is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to raise water safety awareness to prevent children from drowning. Colin’s Hope was founded after 4-year-old Colin Hoist drowned in a public pool in 2008 while surrounded by lifeguards, family and friends in central Texas. A safety wristband with “Water Watcher” tips and basic safety tips was ordered from Colin’s Hope to spread the word of water safety to local areas.
On Dec. 5, 1978, Det. Sgt. Harry Sorenson, 42, was assigned to the Fire Marshal Division at the Eighth District Headquarters in Negaunee. He was checking buildings that day for compliance checks with fire safety codes.
While traveling on U.S. 41 near Michigamme in an unmarked car on a clear and dry day, it’s believed Sorenson took his eyes off the road to check the next address on his clipboard when he drifted left of center and struck another car head-on.
The three occupants of the other car were injured but survived. Sorenson’s injuries were fatal.
A U.S. Marine veteran, Sorenson, who enlisted in the MSP on March 28, 1966, was buried in Traverse City and was the 32nd MSP officer to die in the line of duty.
On Sept. 16, 1980, during a dark and stormy night, detectives from the Special Investigation Unit were scattered across rural Saginaw County to locate a vehicle wanted in connection with a string of burglaries and larcenies in the area. Det. Sgt. David Hubbard, 36, was in an unmarked car heading southeast on a paved road just before 10 p.m.
Apparently, Hubbard did not see a northbound train at the unmarked, unlit train crossing. Blowing branches from a clump of overhanging trees further obscured his view.
Hubbard suffered massive injuries when his car collided with the passing Grand Trunk locomotive. He was pronounced dead on arrival at a Saginaw hospital.
Hubbard, who enlisted in the MSP on July 6, 1965, received the department’s second Memorial Medal, posthumously, and is buried in Lakeview.
He was the 33rd MSP officer to die in the line of duty.
Tags: Ask Trooper Rob