Drowning incidents have devastated families and communities, highlighting the urgent need for proactive measures, such as a water safety awareness program, to prevent such tragedies. By equipping communities with essential knowledge and preventive measures, we can empower them to protect their neighbors and loved ones, creating a safer, more secure environment for all. Together, we can prevent drowning accidents.
Understanding the Importance of Water Safety
Water safety is a critical concept. It extends beyond individual knowledge and well-being into the whole community. Water safety is more than just knowing how to swim. NDPA has resources available for you to learn about the 5 layers of protection. These layers include barriers and alarms, supervision, water competency, life jackets, and emergency preparation. Understanding these layers of protection can help keep you, your family, and your community safer in and around water.
We know that it takes more than one person to make an impact on the drowning numbers; because, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is estimated that an average of 11 fatal drowning deaths happen per day and an additional average of 22 nonfatal drownings happen per day. Communities need to come together to share the best ways to keep the community safe.
Community-driven initiatives play an important role to educate, raise awareness, and provide resources for safer aquatic experiences. Creating and implementing a water safety awareness program fosters a sense of responsibility, empowering individuals to keep themselves and others safer. Additionally, they promote unity by bringing people together around a common goal.
Bringing People and Resources together for Water Safety
Bringing the right people together in your community helps to bring different perspectives and knowledge to the table. This is also one of the key components listed from the U.S. National Water Safety Action Plan (USNWSAP). These people can include local government officials, community leaders, local organizations, parents, and others who are dedicated to making a difference in their community.
Empowering people to share your water safety message and be engaged within your community will help to create a bigger sense of community and togetherness. Encourage active participation from all demographics in your area. This can include families of a certain age to attend a water safety workshop together. Since drowning can happen to anyone at any age, consider bringing in teens and adults as well. This can give everyone a stake in the water safety awareness program.
Looking at what your community needs in their water safety awareness program is important and each community will look different. From here, you can find different resources that are available to share with your community and help to educate more people about water safety. You can check out this NDPA blog about NDPA Water Safety Resources to find additional information.
Understanding what water features your community has will help you identify the key components of awareness and education for your community. From here, you can choose which resources you will need. You can find additional information and resources from other trusted sources like the American Academy of Pediatrics toolkit and the American Red Cross. In your community, it may be helpful to work with your school board and introduce a water safety curriculum to be implemented. There are many resources available, so finding what you need and sharing it within your community can help to decrease drowning accidents.
Putting your Water Safety Awareness Program into Action
Now that you know what you’ve brought people in your community together, you have an understanding of the needs of your community for your water safety awareness program, and you have found amazing resources, how do you get that information out to your community?
There are multiple ways to do this, and again, each community will be different. The USNWSAP provides additional information to help guide you to have a successful water safety awareness program. Following their outline of gathering the different stakeholders, understanding what your community specific water related needs are and understanding the available data leads to you being able to explore potential actions to address the drowning issue with your community.
Following this, you can prioritize your goals and create S.M.A.R.T. goals and be able to launch and implement your plan within your community. Then you can monitor your success and be able to celebrate progress to maintain momentum.
Furthermore, you can create engaging workshops on water safety guidelines and techniques such as the 5 layers of protection as listed by the NDPA. You can involve local entities to share their knowledge and give your community members an opportunity to learn more skills from groups like local Lifeguards, Firefighters, Police Officers, and other Emergency Services personnel.
Continuing to engage with the members of your community will keep the message of water safety awareness alive even when it’s not summer too. There is no wrong time of the year to learn more about water safety.
By advocating for a neighborhood water safety awareness program, communities can proactively address water-related risks and empower residents of all ages with essential life-saving knowledge. The key to success lies in the tailored approach and active involvement of community members, making water safety everyone’s responsibility.
Together, we can create a safer environment for our loved ones and strengthen the bonds within our neighborhoods.