Taking aim at attitudes around water

Safety initiative unveiled at Willows Beach

A swimmer stands beside a float placed in the waters off Willows Beach by the Canadian Red Cross to remind people to be careful in and around the water.

While drownings are rather infrequent in Greater Victoria, a new campaign aims to remind people to be aware on and around the water.

Whether it’s at Willows Beach, Thetis Lake or the inflatable backyard pool, drowning deaths and accidents are preventable. That’s the message behind a new joint campaign of the Canadian Red Cross and B.C. Hydro called Preventable – short for the Community Against Preventable Injuries.

The campaign kicked off under sunny skies last week at Willows Beach, where organizers blew up a three-metre beach ball laid out towels printed with the words “Before you think only other swimmers drown – have a word with yourself.”

“It’s all about making sure you don’t think it’s somebody else that might drown, but thinking about yourself,” said Bruce Andrew, spokesperson for the Canadian Red Cross Coastal Region.

“We call it Preventable because if people go out to a lake and had learned how to swim and taken courses on safety in the water, they’re already able to recognize what they should do.”

A change in attitudes and behaviours could help prevent some of the 60 drowning deaths that happen in B.C. each year, he added.

Most drownings involve children in swimming pools and bathtubs, and often happen when they are alone or unsupervised. About 35 per cent happen in lakes, rivers and streams and another 10 per cent happen in the ocean, according to the Lifesaving Society’s B.C. and Yukon division.

“Often it’s people unfamiliar with the water and people unprepared to go into the water,” said the society’s executive director, Dale Miller. “The locals are probably very aware of the dangers and therefore, we do not see too many (drownings) in the area.”

According to the society, only six drowning deaths have happened outdoors in Greater Victoria since 2006, although some of those were attributed to suicide.

For more information, please visit www.preventable.ca.

ecardone@vicnews.com

Did you know?

• Drowning is the leading cause of injury death for children up to age four.

• Half of those children who drowned were unsupervised.

• Most drowning deaths in that age group happened in swimming pools.

• Alcohol was a factor in 40 per cent of drownings among Canadians over 15.

Just Posted

Greater Victoria teachers experienced more than 30 incidents of violence from students in one month

Shuttered behavioural programs, lack of resources creates challenges for local schools

Canadian alcohol policy gets failing grade from UVic researchers

Canadian provinces and territories collectively achieved less than half of their potential to reduce alcohol related harm

Esquimalt High robotics team heads to international competition

The Esquimalt Atom Smashers will participate in the FIRST Robotics Canada competition

Island playoffs underway at Oak Bay High

Home team vies for fifth straight Island title

Sell regulated heroin to curb B.C.’s overdose problem: report

B.C. Centre on Substance Use points to organized crime and money-laundering as contributing factors

POLL: Will you be wearing pink to take a stand against bullying

Schools and workplaces across Greater Victoria and around the province will be… Continue reading

B.C. legislature moving suspended staff controversy to outside review

Whale watching, Seattle Mariners trips billed as emergency preparedness, Speaker Darryl Plecas says

More people signing up for compulsory vaccines

Maple Ridge mom says public tired of hearing about measles

UPDATE: Man charged in stabbing of woman, off-duty cop outside B.C. elementary school

Manoj George, 49, is facing two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of assault with a weapon after the incident on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

Federal fisheries minister calls for precautionary approach to fish farming

Government still reviewing Federal Court’s decision on PRV – Wilkinson

Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

Researchers from University of Bristol look into why zebras have stripes

Poll: More voters believe Canada doing worse under Trudeau government

22 per cent believed the country is doing better and 27 per cent said things are the same

HBC shuttering Home Outfitters across Canada

North America’s oldest retailer is revamping its various stores to improve profitability

Most Read