Fort Worth Firefighters Charities posts signs for drowning prevention month

Fort Worth Firefighters Charities is working to keep kids safe after a record number of drownings in Fort Worth last year.

The organization, along with Cook Children’s, donated $25,000 to post 1,800 signs at 900 pools with swimming safety tips.

Six fatal drownings were reported in Fort Worth last year, five of which were in swimming pools, according to the city of Fort Worth. Texas led the nation in pool drowning deaths last year.

Two children have already drowned this year, according to Texas department of Family and Protective Services.

Mike Drivdahl, one of the firefighters who is visiting pools this April for drowning prevention month, said people need to be aware of what their children are doing when they’re around water.

“Even though people don’t necessarily think it’s time to start swimming, we’re having drownings,” Drivdahl said.

He added that he hopes the signs will make a difference.

“We’re just hoping that the public starts to make a change in their behavior,”  Drivdahl said. “Put your cell phone down. You got to watch your kids when you swim.”

Parents like Morgan Jackson are also getting ready for swim season by enrolling their children in swim lessons.

Jackson and her two-year-old son, Jacks, have been taking lessons at Emler Swim School since April of last year.

“I just can’t imagine if that happened to me,” Jackson said. “Even knowing that Jacks can swim now, I will still always be watching over him in the pool.”

Jessica Rose, director of operations at Emler, said that drowning is the leading cause of death for children under five.

She added parents need to always keep their eyes on children while they are in the pool, warning that unlike the movies, kids don’t usually make noise while drowning.

“Kids will most of the time silently slip under the water and be in trouble without ever making a sound,” she said.

Jackson said it’s swimming lessons that make her feel at ease when her son is around the pool.

“Water safety is so important to us,” she said. “I wanted him to be sure he knew what to do if he happened to fall into a pool.”