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Posted April 3, 2013
It’s No Joke - April “Pools” Day Will Help Save Lives

April Pools Day 2013
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In an effort to make our community a safer place for kids, The Florida Suncoast SAFE KIDS Coalition, led by All Children's Hospital, in conjunction with St. Petersburg Fire Rescue and many community volunteers organized a door-to-door safety awareness event in the Venetian Isles neighborhood on Monday, April 1.

The event, April Pools Day, is a water safety awareness program held every year on April 1st as a play on words with April Fools Day. It's designed to remind homeowners and others about water safety as they prepare for pool season.

Florida leads the nation in drowning deaths for children under 5 years old. In Pinellas County, St. Petersburg leads in the number of incidents of preventable drowning. St. Petersburg averages one drowning/near drowning per year in the 33703 zip code alone. Since 2005, there have been 10 incidents in this zip code. They all took place in a backyard pool and were all preventable.

This year's event focused on Venetian Isles, one of the neighborhoods in the 33703 zip code. This neighborhood has experienced three drowning/near drowning incidents during the past five years. This neighborhood has 338 residential swimming pools and all of the homes are on a canal. During the event, volunteers distributed pool safety Information to more than 400 homes in this neighborhood.

"I can promise you that what you are doing today is going to help save a life." said St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster, who joined with other volunteers visiting homes in the neighborhood.

No one understands the importance of this event more than Jenna DeVito-Roisum, a parent advocate for drowning prevention who lost a toddler to a backyard pool drowning in 2007.

"My goal is that no other family has to go through what my family has gone through," she said. "I want water safety to be an everyday event. We teach our children how to cross the road and buckle up in a car. I want water safety to be an all the time reminder, too. I think today's event is amazing. I am so excited that so many people have joined together to get the word out." 

For a list of important pool safety tips, please visit: www.FloridaSafePools.org.