The Community Against Preventable Injuries

The Community Against Preventable Injuries

July 19, 2009 10:03 ET

The Community Against Preventable Injuries-Media Advisory: Photo/Video Opportunity

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - July 19, 2009) - As part of an innovative campaign to create awareness about the dangers of drowning, The Community Against Preventable Injuries (The Community) will be placing towels, posters and signs with thought-provoking messages at local beaches, pools and reservoirs.

To kick off the campaign, The Community is setting up the first towels at Kitsilano Beach this weekend. Picture an empty beach towel - displaying the message: "You're probably not expecting to drown today" - accompanied by a pair of flip flops, sunglasses and a beach bag. The purpose is to get people thinking about their attitudes and behavior towards drowning.

Dr. Ian Pike, spokesperson for The Community, and Shelley Dalke, national water safety coordinator for the Canadian Red Cross, will be on site and available for interviews.

WHEN: Sunday, July 19, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

WHERE: Kitsilano Beach (in front of the Watermark restaurant)

CONTACT: Gina Vesnaver, Contemporary Communications, 604.317.6129 (cell)

NEWS RELEASE

"You're Probably Not Expecting to Drown Today"

Think about the risks involved when you are on or near the water

The Community Against Preventable Injuries (The Community) is today launching an innovative campaign using impactful and thought-provoking messages to raise awareness about the dangers of drowning.

Beach towels, signs and posters utilizing the messages will be used to get British Columbians thinking about safety when they are on or near the water. A major portion of the campaign involves laying out large towels, accompanied by a pair of flip flops, sunglasses and bag, at local beaches and pools. The towel says simply: "You're probably not expecting to drown today." Messages like this are designed to remind British Columbians they can have fun during the summer and be safe at the same time.

As we experience more bright sunny days, fun activities at pools and in the open water also increase. While all these activities create exciting memories, they all share the potential risk for serious injury and death. The Community is partnering with the Canadian Red Cross and the BC Lifesaving Society to remind British Columbians about the risks associated with water-related activities. We encourage them to enjoy the summer without having their fun turn into a tragic incident because "nobody wakes up expecting to drown."

According to Vital Statistics, there are at least 75 to 80 deaths each year in BC due to drowning and water-transport related incidents and submersions. Drowning is the second leading cause of death for children aged 1-4 years old. Most of the drowning deaths for all other ages occur in natural water and involve water-related activities, e.g., swimming, recreational boating, canoeing, fishing, water-skiing, etc.

"These injuries and deaths are preventable," says Dr. Ian Pike, spokesperson for The Community. "It's all about knowing the risks so you can take action and be safe."

What causes drownings?

Statistics suggest:

- Half of the children who drown are alone and unsupervised

- Alcohol was associated with 40% of drowning among Canadians aged 15 years and older

- About 90% of people who drown while boating do not wear a lifejacket

These are some of the common contributing factors that lead to drowning which, if considered and addressed while planning water-related activities, can prevent thousands of British Columbians from being killed and injured each year.

"When you think you can get away with a risk, train yourself to think about the consequences of not getting away with it, too," says Shelley Dalke, National Water Safety Coordinator for the Canadian Red Cross.

Drowning is one of the many preventable injuries that kill or seriously injure British Columbians, particularly toddlers and children. Babies can drown in as little as three cm of water in just a few seconds. What averts a drowning incident is constant and active supervision when kids are near or in the water, says Dalke.

As we make our lives fun and challenging, we may end up taking unnecessary risks, believing that I won't drown today. We believe nothing can happen to our child if we are around them, we think we can fight the currents without needing a lifejacket, and we tend not to recognize the consequences of drinking when boating or participating in any other water-related activity.

By understanding the risks involved and by taking simple preventative measures - such as providing undivided supervision to children around us, acquiring proper training, ensuring children have adequate swimming and safety skills, and avoiding alcohol when involved in water-related recreational activities - we can enjoy our activities safely and also ensure safety for our families and friends around us.

The most important safety measure while on the water is wearing a personal floatation device. Unfortunately, the number of people wearing flotation devices in boats lags far behind those for seatbelts in cars. It's vital to get the protection you need and manage your risk comfortably.

The Community Against Preventable Injuries is an organization established to raise awareness, transform attitudes and behaviours and ultimately reduce the number and severity of preventable injuries in BC. The Community's work is made possible through the financial and in-kind support of a variety of organizations that continue to sign on as The Community's partners to fight this epidemic of preventable injuries in BC.

Take steps to prevent injury to yourself and those around you. To join us in the cause against preventable injuries and to learn more, visit www.preventable.ca.

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