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FREE POOL SAFETY PROGRAM OFFERED TO RESIDENTS
 
Before your Labor Day pool party, learn how to pool safely: it could save a life. The City of Chula Vista Fire and Recreation Departments have teamed with Safe Kids San Diego to provide an instructional water safety program that no pool owner can afford to miss.

A press conference is scheduled for Wednesday, August 31 at 11 a.m. to discuss backyard pool safety measures and urge homeowners and renters to attend an upcoming program. The press conference will be held in front of Chula Vista Fire Station #1, 447 F Street. Speakers include Fire Chief Dave Hanneman and Deputy Mayor Rudy Ramirez.

On Saturday, September 3, families will have an opportunity to learn about water safety from lifeguards and drowning prevention advocates as part of Chula Vista’s Water Awareness in Residential Neigborhoods (WARN) Program. Children will receive a free in-water safety lesson while parents learn how to make their home pool safer. The free program, scheduled from 10 – 11 a.m., will be held at the Parkway Family Aquatic Center, 385 Park Way, Chula Vista.

After the class, participants will be able to complete a "Home Pool Essentials" internet course. The "Home Pool Essentials" course normally costs $19.95 but a grant from Safe Kids will allow participants to have free access to the program. Additionally, once homeowners/renters complete the on-line course, they will receive a free youth lifejacket.

The first 20 families with a backyard pool to register for the program will be eligible for the free internet course and youth life jacket. Families that want to participate must pre-register by calling Safe Kids at (858) 576-1700 ext. 3547. Those wishing to attend who do not have backyard pools can arrive at 10 a.m. for the program.

The swim season culminates with the Labor Day holiday, and tragically there were two separate fatal drowning incidents in Chula Vista backyard pools on Labor Day in 2007. Drowning is the second leading cause of death for children under the age of 14 years in the United States. There have been six fatal drowning incidents in San Diego County this year, bringing the county total to 41 fatal drowning incidents since 2006. Most of these incidents involved children under the age of four years who drowned in a backyard pool or bath tub.

The tree in front of Chula Vista Fire Station 1 will be adorned with 41 blue ribbons to remember each of the San Diego County children that have fallen victim to drowning in the past five years.

"The Fire Department is determined to help create public awareness about this problem," said Fire Chief Dave Hanneman. "Our crews are often the first on the scene of a drowning incident, and each of these events is truly devastating to all involved."

The WARN event on Saturday will help parents understand the steps they must take to keep their children and guests safe around the pool. Children will learn how to enjoy the water safely, what to do if they get into trouble in different aquatic environments, and how to properly use a life jacket. Parents will learn about the importance of fence and alarm systems, how to provide optimal supervision, and receive an introduction to the importance of learning CPR and basic water rescue techniques.

The City of Chula Vista recently distributed Pool Safely materials from the Consumer Product Safety Commission Pool Safely campaign to all City of Chula Vista residents that have a backyard pool built after 1991 as part of the continued efforts to protect its citizens.

"When it comes to spreading the message of water safety, we are one of the most active and proactive aquatic agencies in the country," said Buck Martin, Director of Recreation. "We are grateful to Safe Kids for providing our residents with another opportunity to become educated about how to protect their children."

For more information about the WARN Program event on September 3, or any of the aquatic programs that are offered through the City of Chula Vista, please contact Manuel Gonzalez, Aquatic Supervisor at (619) 691-5099 or visit www.chulavistaca.gov/goto/swim.

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