By Mr. Isidro Reyna (USACE)April 1, 2013
HOUSTON (April 1, 2013) -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District, together with Safe Kids Greater Houston, kicked off the summer 2013 water safety season and announced a newly-formed partnership with Spanish-language media outlet Telemundo at its 8th annual April Pools Day media event at the Houston Swim Club April 1.
As the leading provider of outdoor recreation on all federally-managed public lands in the U.S., the Corps has a dedicated focus on water safety by putting "safety first" and becoming "water aware" when participating in water-related recreational activities.
"Drowning is the leading cause of accidental injury deaths among kids under the age of five and second leading cause among children under 13," said USACE Galveston District Water Safety Program Manager and Park Ranger Kristine Brown. "Many incidents affect toddlers and mostly happen in natural bodies of water and swimming pools, but some take place when children are left unattended in bath tubs, spas or even near buckets of water."
Telemundo news anchor Martin Berlanga announced the water safety campaign, which encourages the public (comprised of a multi-cultural audience ) to participate in activities, programs, projects, and events that focus on providing water safety education and drowning prevention information to parents and children, many of whom use Corps facilities and enjoy the Texas coast.
"It only takes minutes for a child to drown when adults are not paying close attention," said Brown. "In 2012, the greater Houston area had 23 confirmed drownings - the highest number in the state of Texas."
Together with Telemundo, the Safe Kids Houston Water Safety Coalition will film and produce bilingual water safety public service announcements and provide interview opportunities to educate the public about water safety throughout the summer months.
According to Brown, the campaign strives to educate parents and caregivers to never let children play unattended near water, designate a responsible adult to watch children while they're in, on or near the water and to learn Safer3 -- Safer Water, Safer Kids, Safer Responses.
"The Corps and Safe Kids Greater Houston understand the important role that education plays in saving lives and requests the assistance of community leaders, volunteers and the public to partner with us to help reduce public fatalities and improve public safety at our lakes, recreational areas and public facilities," said Brown.
As part of the campaign, the coalition partnered with local governments including the City of Houston and Harris County, to proclaim April 1 as Water Safety Program Kick-off Day and garner support from community leaders.
Safe Kids Greater Houston is a local coalition made up of more than 25 health and safety experts, educators, corporations, foundations, government agencies and volunteers who come together to educate and protect families.
For more information and tips on water safety, visit the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website at http://watersafety.usace.army.mil/ or http://www.swg.usace.army.mil/BusinessWithUs/PublicAffairsOffice/WaterSafetyProgram.aspx. To learn more about Safe Kids Greater Houston, visit http://www.safekidsgreaterhouston.org/.