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May 2012
Volume 2, Issue 1

May is National Water Safety Month

Family SwimmingBecause of the popularity of swimming and water-related recreational activities in the United States, and the resulting need for ongoing public health education on safer water practices, May 2012 is recognized as National Water Safety Month. The County of San Bernardino Department of Public Health Division of Environmental Health Services uses this annual observance month to raise awareness about healthy and safe recreational water practices.

In San Bernardino County, National Water Safety Month will be celebrated through educational programs, public service announcements via social media outreach, and the distribution of water safety-themed materials.

The Pool Safely website has valuable resources on drowning prevention and healthy swimming for parents and families, as well as information for pool industry operators on public pool and spa safety requirements.

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Recreational Water Illness and Injury Prevention Week is May 2127, 2012

People SwimmingThe week before Memorial Day (May 21-27, 2012) is Recreational Water Illness and Injury (RWII) Prevention Week. The Division of Environmental Health Services uses this annual observance week to raise awareness about healthy and safe swimming, and to highlight ways to prevent recreational water illnesses and injuries.

Every year, thousands of Americans get sick with recreational water illnesses (RWIs), which are caused by germs found in places where we swim. Every day, two children under the age of 14 years die from drowning; it is the leading cause of death for children 14 years old. Healthy and safe swimming means preventing the spread of the germs that cause RWIs and keeping children safe from drowning.

Drowning is preventable, although each year thousands die and more are left with long-term consequences including memory problems, learning disabilities, and permanent loss of basic functioning (e.g., permanent vegetative state). To reduce the risk of drowning, San Bernardino County residents should:

  • Prepare by making sure that:

  • o Everyone knows how to swim
    o Older children and adults know CPR and rescue breathing

  • When in the water, keep swimmers safe by:

  • o Using life jackets that fit properly for younger or weaker swimmers
    o Providing continuous, attentive supervision close to the swimmers even if there is a lifeguard
    o Avoiding alcohol and drugs when swimming or watching swimmers

  • When NOT in the water, prevent access to the water by:

  • o Installing and maintaining barriers (for pools: 4-sided fencing and weight-bearing covers)
    o Using locks or alarms for windows and doors

RWIs are also preventable, but prevention requires swimmers to take an active role in protecting themselves and other swimmers. Research shows that health education campaigns are an effective way to increase swimmer awareness and encourage healthy swimming behaviors. Simple steps swimmers can take to help prevent the spread of germs that cause RWIs include:

  • Don't swim when you have diarrhea. You can spread germs in the water and make others sick.

  • Don't swallow pool water. Avoid getting water in your mouth.

  • Practice good hygiene. Shower with soap before swimming and wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers. Germs on your body end up in the water.

  • o Wash their children before swimming (especially their rear ends).
    o Check diapers every 3060 minutes. Change diapers in a bathroom or a diaper-changing area and not at poolside. Germs can spread in and around the pool.
    o Take your kids to the bathroom every 3060 minutes. Waiting to hear "I have to go" may mean that it's too late.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website has valuable information on drowning prevention and healthy swimming.

Article reference: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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Plan Submittal for Pool Equipment Replacement/Addition

Kids SwimmingThe California Health and Safety Code requires that any person proposing to alter a public swimming pool or auxiliary structure or equipment, shall submit plans and specifications to this Division for review and written approval prior to commencing the work and in advance of the issuance of any building, plumbing or electrical permits. Examples of alterations requiring plan submittals includes the replacement of a pool pump, filter, skimmer or any underground plumbing, or the addition of any electrical components which may affect the pool circulation/turnover time. Remodeling/replacement of pool decking, fencing or restrooms also requires plan review.

For any questions regarding pool remodeling and plan review requirements, call Freddie Agyin at (909) 948-5060.

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New Health Education Presentation / Event Request Form

The Division of Environmental Health Services Health Education Program has created a new application form for health education presentation / event requests. Click here to download the form. We ask that you please return the completed form at least two weeks prior to your planned event. We will respond within one week of receiving your submission (please note: submission of form does not guarantee representation at your event). You may also use this form to request free written materials (brochures, handouts, flyers, etc.) on pool safety and drowning prevention.

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Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Find us on TwitterCounty of San Bernardino, Environmental Health Services is on Facebook and Twitter. Join the conversation about pool safety, foodborne illness prevention, vector control and more.

Follow us on Facebook

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If you have any questions or comments, please contact Amanda Gaspard, Health Education Specialist,
at 800-442-2283 or Amanda.Gaspard@dph.sbcounty.gov.

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