May 2, 2014

Chickasha celebrates National Water Safety Month

By Rachel Snyder
The Express-Star

CHICKASHA — With the weather warming up and summer fast approaching, Grady County is preparing to take to the water.

May is National Water Safety Month, which is currently being honored at Chickasha's YMCA with the Everybody In the Pool program, in which staff teach second graders from the Friend School, Pioneer Elementary School and Grand Avenue Elementary about water safety. This year's program ends tomorrow.

"The program teaches basic water safety and pool rules, such as how to safely use the pool in an age-appropriate way and when it's safe to be in the water," Chickasha YMCA Executive Director Nathan Donald said. "From what we've been told by the schools, it's a program the kids are talking about in August."

Donald said pool rules the aquatic instructors for the program teach focus on not running or playing too roughly by the pool.

The Chickasha YMCA also offers swim lessons during the summer at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma's indoor pool and the pool at Shannon Springs Park.

The Chickasha YMCA is also hiring 10 lifeguards for the pool at Shannon Springs Park this summer, he said.

Chickasha Parks and Recreation Director Wayne Burns also stressed the importance of safety while having fun in the splash pads at Shannon Springs and Washita Valley Park, municipal pools and Lake Chickasha.

"Kids need to be safe in the water," Burns said.

He said it's important to wear life jackets, watch the weather, keep proper safety equipment on boats (such as a fire extinguisher, map, phone and first aid kit) and not operate boats after drinking alcohol.

Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury deaths for children from 1 to 14 years of age and the fifth leading cause for all people, according to the YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City.

Those interested in being a lifeguard in Chickasha can contact the Chickasha YMCA and attend a class on May 27 to become certified.