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Drowning Prevention Month in Utah and Around the Nation

PHOTO: Summertime in Utah can be a deadly season in backyard swimming pools and on lakes and rivers, but National Drowning Prevention Month each May stresses water safety. Photo credit: City of Lehi, Utah.
PHOTO: Summertime in Utah can be a deadly season in backyard swimming pools and on lakes and rivers, but National Drowning Prevention Month each May stresses water safety. Photo credit: City of Lehi, Utah.
May 26, 2015

SALT LAKE CITY – If this year is similar to last year, about 30 people in Utah will die as a result of drowning.

Cambree Applegate, coordinator of Safe Kids Utah, says the purpose of National Drowning Prevention Month each May is to stress the importance of water safety.

She says the majority of Utah's drowning deaths don't happen in swimming pools.

"Definitely during the summer months, we see that the open sources of water, whether it be through the reservoirs, the lakes, canals – we see a lot more drowning deaths occur in those areas than we do in the pools and spas," she points out.

Applegate says 10 of the state's 30 drowning victims last year were under the age of 19.

Health events are the leading cause for older victims, while drugs and alcohol get much of the blame among young adults.

Applegate says it's vital that children and adults in or near the water know how to swim, and she adds that putting up a five-foot wrought iron pool fence can also help prevent child drownings.

She stresses children should not be left alone around any kind of water.

"Kids especially can drown in as little as an inch of water,” she explains. “So, making sure that you're supervising them during bathtub, if you have the little plastic pools, watching the kids while they're out in those, and then emptying them afterwards."

Applegate says another important safety tip is to always wear a lifejacket on open water.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - UT