Thursday, March 12th – Breakout Sessions

Let It Go!
Brian Westfall, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
When out on or near the water, expect the unexpected. Unsuspecting victims drown because they swim out to retrieve floating objects. Beach balls, swimmers and vessels are carried out in deep water. First impulse is to swim and retrieve the object. Swimmers overestimate their swimming ability and underestimate distances, a deadly combination resulting in many fatalities. Why do swimmers go out into deep water to retrieve objects? Is it an impulsive action, ownership, embarrassment over losing the object or cost of the object? Bottom line is no personal possession is worth losing your life over while recreating near the water.


Swimsafe: Community Approach to Drowning Prevention
Dina Sutherland, East Pierce Fire & Rescue
Are your drowning prevention efforts struggling to keep afloat? Learn how one community stepped up to bring hope out of tragedy by creating a collaborative, multi-layered drowning prevention program to help swimmers on local waterways stay safe.


10 Habits of Effective Drowning Preventers
Steve Friederang, Tropical Penguin
Coach Steve Friederang is trained by the Covey Leadership Center. He has over forty years of experience teaching and coaching at all levels, from two-year-olds to college champions. He presently designs training equipment and mentors many of world’s the best swim coaches. Steve’s a former secondary English teacher and author. What habitual and environmental factors are similar in people who are effective at lowering the rate of drowning? What personal values do these people have in common? Can this effectiveness and these foundational principles be taught and learned? Yes! This session will improve all facets of your life.


Reduce Drowning or Water Safety
Matt Claridge, Water Safety New Zealand
Water safety in New Zealand has had a shake up. A true peak body has been established to support and guide the sector to reduce drowning. Water Safety New Zealand is a non government organization responsible for the evidence, policy, funding and partnerships to reduce drowning in New Zealand. A model of collaboration has been developed to foster great partnerships, but how does that impact on the philosophy of water safety and making a difference? This session will explore the sharp end of the arrow head in terms of strategy, investment priorities, policy and making partnerships work.


Helpful Programming Tools for Drowning Prevention
Laura Thomas, Families United to Prevent Drowning
The Families United to Prevent Drowning members would like to introduce you to their helpful programming tools to boost your community outreach efforts in spreading water safety and drowning prevention. From CPR Parties to educational water safety books to distributing water safety packets to target communities, this wide variety of programming tools will help you make an incredible water safety impact in your community. Together we CAN and WILL save lives!


Collecting Data to Turn into Education
Matt Payne, Rialto Fire Department
Kelly Donaldson, Rancho Cucamungo Fire District
This session will expose you to a simple way to collect drowning data that can be then turned into prevention education for your community. The Inland Empire has been able to collect data from fire departments and first responders with a simple form that can be filled out by field personnel and given to education specialist to develop a specific program for your needs. The form does not violate any HIPPA laws and can help you target specific areas for education, lakes, pools, bath tubs. This session has a FF/PM with field experience and an educator that creates the programs.


Public Health Approach to Drowning Prevention
Dr. Rohit Shenoi, Baylor College of Medicine
Drowning is a major cause of accidental death in children. Since local government may lag in prevention efforts, interested community-based stakeholders may need to take a more active role in prevention. In this presentation, we will make a compelling argument for using a public health approach in drowning prevention. Using our experience in Houston, we will describe how to perform surveillance and identify risk factors for childhood drowning. We will also illustrate how the information obtained can serve as a basis for formulating community- specific drowning prevention interventions to enable the adoption of best practices in drowning prevention.


Seven Fundamentals for Leading Safer Teams
Dr. Andy Neillie, Aqua-Tots Swim Schools of Central Texas
As we all know, the best way to deal with a water crisis is to prevent it. In this session, best-selling leadership author (and swim school owner) Dr. Andy Neillie will talk about the seven fundamentals of effective leadership that forge powerful links of trust and responsibility between leaders and team members. By using these seven principles to become stronger leaders ourselves, we help our teams to work more effectively, thereby creating safer, healthier work and water environments.


Perceptions Around Water
Catherine Jones, S.W.I.M./UMMC
By understanding others perceptions around water (through short real life stories), looking through the eyes of teen swimmers, non-swimmers, young lifeguards, medical professionals, parents and others – by understanding different views submersion injury and drowning can further be prevented with yet another layer of protection. Water loving teen swimmers can make a difference in their community. hearing how others perceive and understand water can change how we teach and motivate young people to behave around water.


Never Happens
Tim Spice, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Texas Parks and Wildlife has teamed up with Texas Education Agency to deliver a water safety message to all youth Driver’s Education students.   Over 225,000 teenagers will view the “Never Happens” video. Learn how the program came about, how it has grown to include a parent video, and how grass roots drowning prevention organizations are providing a key role in the future development and implementation of this powerful water safety message.


Water Safety U.S. Military Bahrain
Nancy Haynsworth, U.S. Navy
Naval Support Activity Bahrain is located east of Saudi Arabia. NSA Bahrain encompasses the “busiest 152 acres in the world.” 7,500 military personnel, DOD Civilian employees, and family members call Bahrain home. NSA Bahrain supports the daily activities of ships and aircraft in Fifth Fleet, U.S., Coalition home ported and visiting ships.   Military families assigned to Bahrain reside off base in flats, villas or apartments which contain an unguarded swimming pool, making drowning an unfortunate possibility. Swimming education programs are a critical layer of protection in drowning prevention. This population will receive comprehensive, robust water safety education instructional programming.


Aquatic Litigation – An Unfinished Story
Jesse Guerra, The J. Guerra Law Firm
The Program will address issues that could have prevented these sad and tragic events. We will dive into three different cases to uncover what I call the good, the bad, and the ugly. The real world of a day to day life in the day of class c pool operators and their patrons. The session will address laws in Texas affecting pools and water safety. We will touch on new initiatives being made to make new laws that will no doubt save lives and address many flaws in the current laws that relate to aquatic safety.


Better Your Risk Management Culture
Amanda Mitchell, YMCA of Greater Kansas City
It sometimes can take a reminder to be able to walk into your facility and look at it with fresh lenses. This session will help provide participants with the tools necessary to increase their culture of safety in their facilities by looking at their pools with fresh lenses and in a new light.


High Speed Water Trauma
Craig Dunham, National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians
There is a direct correlation between water related trauma and drowning in the marine environment. This program reinforces the need for improved training and education programs, as well as availability for first responders and professional rescuers. Power point visuals and short, unpublished, video clips of marine accidents where drowning or near drowning took place are used as reinforcement to support the perceived needs above. The overall theme is one of safety recognition, planning, preparation and practice. Presenter has in excess of 30 years experience in marine safety as past chief flight paramedic for the American Powerboat Association, Vice President of the Mark Lavin Safety Foundation.


Standard of Care in Lifeguarding
Gerry Dworkin, Lifesaving Resources
Comprehensive and fast-paced session focusing on the PREVENTION, RECOGNITION, and MANAGEMENT of drowning and aquatic injuries. This program is geared specifically for Aquatic Facility Managers and Operators, Lifeguard Instructors and Supervisors, and Lifeguard personnel. Numerous video and/or audio-clips of actual drowning and aquatic injury incidents are included to re-enforce the principles advocated within the session. Numerous drowning and aquatic injury case studies are also included within this session.


Developing a Countrywide Drowning Assessment Program
Amy Blackman, NDPA Palm Beaches Treasure Coast Chapter/City of West Palm Beach
Kim Burgess, Florida Department of Health

Let’s talk practical ways to prevent drownings in our communities. Far too many times we have heard “that’s not possible” or “we can’t do that”. Let’s make the impossible, possible and implement some best practices for drowning prevention in our communities. We will discuss initiatives from providing swim lessons to adding safety measures in the home. If you already are involved in a task force bring your most successful initiatives to share worth the group with step by step procedures on how you launched the program.


Drowning Surveillance and Injury Prevention Implications
Marisa Abbe, Children’s Medical Center, Dallas
Jan Watt, Children’s Medical Center, Dallas

Pediatric drowning prevention programs are typically designed to educate children and parents about environmental and behavioral risk factors such as pool fencing, swimming ability, and adult supervision. However, effective drowning prevention depends on our ability to identify which of these factors are most important, and separating drowning facts from myths requires accurate, complete, and detailed data. In this session, we discuss how the varying quality and completeness of drowning incident data collected by state agencies, EMS, and hospitals shapes what we know about how children drown. We also outline a strategy for improving drowning prevention through better data collection.