July 2006

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Arpaio Reminds Us It’s Everyone’s Responsibility

Swimming Pool Safety

Picture this in your mind: a nice, beautiful Sunday afternoon in the backyard pool — all of your family has gathered together to enjoy a cookout — your wife, children, and relatives are all together to enjoy the company of those who mean so much to them. Everyone is enjoying the cool, blue water.

This is the reason you work so hard — to share and to provide for the ones you love.

Then your attention is turned from your young daughter — just for a moment — a moment too long — a moment long enough for your child to slip silently under the surface of the water. No one notices until it is too late.

All of a sudden, this beautiful Sunday afternoon has turned tragic.

At first shock sets in, then panic, then anger, and finally desperation. Thoughts of what you could have done differently, and who to blame race in your mind. That minute, hour, and day will live with you for the rest of your life.

Every year my Lake Patrol deputies deal with dozens of tragic accidents and unnecessary deaths in and around water. These tragedies make water safety everyone’s responsibility, no matter what!

A swimming pool is a very dangerous place for children, so following these very important rules can save lives:

  • Never leave your children alone in or near the pool, even for a moment.
  • Stay within an arm's length of your child.
  • Put up a fence with a self-locking gate to separate your house from the pool; most municipalities have ordinances regarding pool fences.
  • Keep rescue equipment such as hook and life preserver near the pool, along with a telephone.
  • Do not let your child use air-filled "floaties" because they are not a substitute for approved life vests.
  • Learn CPR and be able to rescue a child if needed.
  • Remove all toys from the pool after use, so children are not tempted to reach for them.
  • After the children are done swimming, secure the pool so they are not able to get back into it.

Teaching your children to be safe around water is important, but remember it is up to you to keep them safe. Please watch your kids whenever they are around water.


Joe Arpaio

Maricopa County Sheriff


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