City hold activities at public beaches and pools for National Drowning Prevention Week
Activities were held at beaches and public outdoor pools across the city for National Drowning Prevention Week from July 17 to 23. Between 11 am to 7 pm every day games for children as well as lifesaving simulations were organized to raise awareness about how to prevent drowning and practice safety when close to water.
National Drowning Prevention Week is a Canada-wide initiative organized by the Lifesaving Society and takes place every year on the third week of July. According to the Lifesaving Society over 400 Canadians die annually from drowning and an estimated 31 drownings have occurred in Quebec as of July this year.
Martin Goulet, who has been a lifeguard for 39 years and is the current head of aquatic activities division for the Ville de Gatineau, highlighted how important it was to be aware of the risks of drowning and the steps that can be taken to prevent it, especially for parents with young children. “Drowning can happen so fast. For a child it can take 10 to 15 seconds to drown and it can take around 1 minute for an adult. Many people are not aware of this,” said Goulet following a lifesaving demonstration at Lac Beauchamps on Monday July 18. While the overall number of drowning incidents across the country have decreased over recent years according to the Lifesaving Society, Goulet emphasized that with the right awareness and practices almost all drowning can be prevented.
Among the recommendations listed by the Lifesaving Society is for parents to directly supervise children when around the water keeping them at an arms-length distance at all times. In order to ensure that children are not left out of sight near a private pool at home the society suggests that parents make sure to bring any items they might forget such as phones, towels and sun cream to the pool before heading outside with their children. It is also important for both adults and children to wear a lifejacket at all times when on any boat. Avoiding alcohol and cannabis consumption when close to the water is another key precaution as both have been factors in many drowning incidents. The society also suggests that people consider taking learn-to-swim and first aid courses to protect yourself and others from drowning.
In Quebec, the Drowning Prevention Week is part of the Près de l’eau, je réfléchis (Near Water, Think Twice) Campaign which aims to educate the public about marine safety as well as raise awareness about environmentally sustainable practices when on or near the water. For more information on the National Drowning Prevention week as well as the “Près de l’eau, je réfléchis” Campaign visit the Lifesaving Society Quebec website at: https://www.societedesauvetage.org or the Lifesaving Society’s national website at: https://www.lifesaving.ca/