East Lake Fire Rescue participates in water safety campaign

EAST LAKE - The plastic bags hanging on doorknobs throughout a local neighborhood last week weren't filled with your average business solicitations.

Their contents were meant to help save lives and a partnership of organizations is hoping residents took the time to review some important information.

Representatives from four entities - East Lake Fire Rescue, the Florida Suncoast Safe Kids Coalition, Florida Safe Pools and All Children's Hospital - pounded the pavement last Tuesday afternoon to raise awareness about water safety and childhood submersion and drowning incidents.

Members of the groups canvassed the Brooker Creek Villa's and Townhomes subdivision in East Lake. They chose the community because of a drowning incident that occurred there earlier this month. A 3-year-old girl was found in the community pool after being submerged for about 30 seconds. The youngster was flown to All Children's Hospital, where she made a full recovery.

"These initiatives usually correlate to where there's been a drowning or near drowning incident," said Charlene Cobb, a Community Outreach Coordinator with Florida Safe Pools, of how neighborhoods are targeted for the educational drives.

Florida Safe Pools was established by the Florida Suncoast Safe Kids Coalition and is led by All Children's Hospital.

Along with direct tips on how to keep residential pool areas safe, like the five layers of pool safety, the distributed bags contained contact information on how to arrange for public or private swim lessons for both children and adults.

Liz Monforti, the public information officer for Palm Harbor Fire Rescue and a Safe Kids Coalition chairperson, said in-home safety checks can be arranged through the Safe Pools program.

According to the Safe Pools website, Florida leads the nation in drowning deaths for children under 5 years old, highlighting the collective importance of these initiatives.

Residents seeking additional water safety information or wanting to arrange for swim lessons or in-home safety checks can go to the Safe Pools website at www.flsafepools.com.