SURREY Mayor Doug McCallum and the Surrey Fire Fighters Charitable Society were joined by members of the community on Tuesday to announce the launch of two new water safety initiatives.
In partnership with the Surrey Fire Fighters Charitable Society, a free life jacket loaner program will run at annually at Crescent Beach during the summer, offering both adult and children’s sizes.
The City has also launched a free, city-wide life jacket fitting assessment program at all of its indoor and outdoor pools.
“Every summer people head to the beach or the pool to beat the heat and these new City of Surrey programs will help ensure that everyone has the opportunity to enjoy the water safely,” said McCallum. “The two new initiatives we have launched today will increase awareness of water safety and reduce water-related fatalities. I want to thank the Surrey Fire Fighters Charitable Society for their financial support in the free life jacket rental program.”
The BC Day long weekend typically sees an increase in water-related injuries and fatalities in BC. Wearing a proper fitting life jacket, in both size and body weight, is the best tool for preventing drowning. Life jackets can be rented from the Lifeguard Station at Crescent Beach from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. when lifeguards are on duty. Life jacket fitting assessments are offered at all City of Surrey pools, year-round.
Drowning is the third leading cause of accidental death in Canada, and the second leading cause among children.
The Lifesaving Society of B.C. notes that 92% of children who drown are not being actively supervised by a parent or guardian and 85% of young adults are not wearing a life jacket. British Columbia sees an increase of drownings from May through September, particularly during long weekends, when families more frequently enjoy beaches, pools and recreational water sports.
“We are proud to partner with the City of Surrey on this important safety initiative,” said Dylan Van Rooyen, Board Director of Surrey Fire Fighters Charitable Society. “As first responders, part of our role is to help prevent accidents from happening and wearing a proper fitting life jacket is one of the best tools for drowning prevention. We would like to remind parents to keep children within arm’s reach – even if they are wearing a life jacket – when you are on or near the water.”
Drowning is preventable. Learn more about Surrey’s water safety initiatives, including lessons, first aid and CRP training, and lifeguarding certification here.