By Kevin J Sabo
For the Independent
Every year, more than 400 people die by drowning in Canada, making it the third leading cause of “unintentional death” according to the Lifesaving Society of Canada.
As part of a campaign to reduce these numbers, the Lifesaving Society of Canada has declared National Drowning Prevention Week during the third full week of July, this year running July 18 to 24. The goal of the initiative is to reduce drowning related fatalities.
As part of the initiative, the Alberta and Northwest Territories chapter of the Lifesaving Society partner with local municipalities to try and get the message across, usually with the issuance of a proclamation to that effect. County of Stettler Reeve Larry Clarke and Stettler Mayor Sean Nolls signed the 2021 proclamation at the Stettler Recreation Centre on July 20,2021.
“It’s something we do every year,” said Nolls.
“With having a pool, and the proximity to the lake, it’s really important to bring attention to something like that. We don’t necessarily think of it all the time, but we are working with different organizations in town to keep it to the forefront. It’s always something we need to be aware of.”
The main messages that the Lifesaving Society is emphasizing for the 2021 campaign are: preventing drowning, actively supervising children in and around the water, always wearing a lifejacket in a boat, learn to swim, swim with a buddy, stay sober, be water smart year-round.
The most at risk of drowning, according to the Lifesaving Society of Canada, are male young adults in the 20 to 34 years old age group. Baby boomers in the 50-year-old to 64-year-old age range and seniors over 65 are also at high risk of drowning.
According to the Lifesaving Society write-up for 2021’s initiative “Baby Boomers need to adjust their risk-taking behavior as they age. They may be older but not as resilient in a lie-threatening situation. Know your current swimming ability.”
Another thing to keep in mind is limiting alcohol consumption when on the water. Statistics in Canada show that 32 per cent of boating-related fatalities are alcohol related.
Canada has an abundant source of water which can be used for recreation activities like swimming and water-skiing, but those activities can turn deadly very quickly. The best way to avoid being a statistic is to plan ahead, mitigate risks, learn to swim, and wear a flotation device.