The frequency of drowning incidents in Hennepin County this summer is spurring a local coalition of public safety agencies to take action with a message and demonstration of poolside safety.
Representatives from the Hennepin County Water Safety Task Force gathered at Lancaster Village Apartments in Plymouth Thursday to educate area apartment managers about poolside tools to prevent drownings and distribute a multi-language public safety DVD with swimming safety tips available to new apartment tenants.
Already this summer, 27 people in Minnesota have died in non-boating related drownings.
"It's entirely preventable," said John Foss of the Foss Swim School and part of the Water Safety Task Force. "Every human can swim with enough instruction and practice."
Foss said most drownings can occur in less than a minute or two, and they're silent events where a victim sinks to the bottom of the pool.
Last August, two people died at the Lancaster Village Apartments after 26-year-old Moses Sneh jumped into the pool to save a 9-year-old girl who was drowning. Both Sneh and the girl drowned.
The incident last summer spurred the apartment complex to take action by installing an Emergency 911 phone at the pool and clearly displaying the water rescue equipment like the shepard's crook and buoy.
"After last year's tragedy we wanted to make sure that we were doing everything we could for our residents and their guests," said Julie Siegler, community manager at Lancaster Village.
The Water Safety Task Force has DVDs and large swimming safety posters available for distribution at area apartment complexes. The poster includes nine different swimming safety tips in five different languages.
The task force's drowning prevention program is currently being made available in Plymouth, Brooklyn Park, and Brooklyn Center.
Alexandra Renslo reporting
Thursday, July 12, 2012