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Water Safety Champion of The Month: Kirby Morgan

water-safety-champion-of-the-month-kirby-morgan

In the critical field of child safety, preventing fatalities requires relentless dedication and a proactive approach. Each year, countless young lives are lost to preventable accidents, with drowning leading as one of the top causes of death among children under four years old. 

These tragic occurrences not only devastate families but also challenge communities to tighten safety measures and educate the public. It is within this challenging arena that Kirby Morgan has carved his niche as a Child Fatality Prevention Specialist for the Florida Department of Children and Families.

We are proud to announce our April 2024 Water Safety Champion of The Month, Kirby Morgan.

Kirby’s Journey into Water Safety

Kirby Morgan has dedicated over 29 years to child safety, evolving through various roles from economic self-sufficiency to child protective investigations. His diverse experience has provided him with a rich background, sharpening his expertise in child safety. Yet, it is in his current role as a Child Fatality Prevention Specialist that Kirby’s impact becomes most profound.

In this role, Kirby meticulously gathers and analyzes data to inform and drive policy changes, especially concerning water safety. He notes that from 2009 to 2022, an alarming 83% of drowning fatalities occurred during non-swim times, primarily involving residential pools. Motivated by these findings, Kirby is dedicated to elevating drowning prevention as a political priority, understanding the devastating impact these incidents have on families and communities.

His commitment deepened during the 2020 pandemic when a noticeable spike in drownings at rental properties caught his attention. Collaborating with Airbnb, he identified over 66,000 properties in Florida alone with bodies of water. This discovery spurred him to become more actively involved in water safety initiatives, participating in the 2022, 2023, and 2024 National Water Safety Conferences and working closely with the National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA).

Impactful Cases and Lessons Learned

One particularly harrowing case that influenced Kirby involved a boy snatched by an alligator while holding his father’s hand—a tragedy that underscored the importance of public education about local water safety rules, especially in places like Florida where you should never to approach the edge of a body of water, where Alligators are known to hide. 

Kirby quotes George Santayana, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” emphasizing the critical need for continuous education and awareness to prevent such tragedies.

Education is the cornerstone of Kirby’s strategy for drowning prevention. He tirelessly works to educate both children and adults about the layers of protection necessary to prevent drownings. His vision includes making water safety education a fundamental part of community outreach, believing that informed communities are empowered to protect their members.

Addressing Challenges and Implementing Strategies

Kirby faces numerous challenges in his work, including the lack of stringent regulations for community and vacation rental properties’ pools. His efforts to engage the tourism industry and various rental property companies highlight the need for widespread adoption of water safety protocols. Kirby believes in adapting water safety strategies to fit local needs while building frameworks that communities can adopt and adapt.

His commitment extends to enhancing community involvement in water safety initiatives. By spreading knowledge and fostering community engagement, he hopes to build a culture of safety that prioritizes the well-being of every child.

Thank You For Making A Difference In Water Safety!

Kirby Morgan’s dedication to water safety is a beacon of hope and a call to action for all of us to prioritize and promote water safety measures in our communities. As we learn from his experience and insights, let’s join hands to ensure that our water activities are safe for everyone, particularly our most vulnerable— children.

Thank you for being a Water Safety Champion!

If you are making a difference in water safety and drowning prevention or know someone who is, we want to hear your story. 

Please take a moment to share the story on our website for a chance to be nationally recognized as a Water Safety Champion.