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Drownings in Oklahoma rising due to coronavirus pandemic

Posted at 4:48 AM, Aug 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-07 09:08:21-04

TULSA, Okla — Safety experts are concerned about an increase in drowning deaths due to the coronavirus pandemic.

World-wide, there are around 320,000 drowning deaths each year according to the World Health Organization.

Part of their concern, according to the Red Cross is that families are investing in backyard pools, and swimming classes are closed.

The Red Cross has also had to move their safety and CPR courses online because of COVID-19

In Oklahoma alone, 43 deaths have been reported this year through July 25.

Andy Little with the Tulsa Fire Department said, a good start would be to put down the phone.

He said an adult should have their eyes on swimming children at all times.

Little said while swimming is a great summer activity, the water is very dangerous, and people don't give it the respect they should.

Even though swimming season is coming to an end, he said children are still at high risk.

Little recommends building barriers and fences to keep children from wandering in the water. It happens so fast Little said, and most of the time parents don't notice or hear a fall.

Little said it doesn't take long for devastating results.

You gotta watch them, if your children are swimming you have to always participate in active monitoring. So, you have to stay off those phones, you gotta avoid distractions, avoid alcohol, anything that takes your full focus away from your family.
Andy Little | Tulsa Fire Department

Little also recommends the community step in, and if someone notices children by water alone, they should help.

2 Works for You also spoke with a swim expert, Rachel Schropp with Safe Splash.

Schropp recommends swim lessons for all children to keep them safe.

She said there are a few rules people should follow before heading to the water.

  • Don't run near the water
  • Don't push or jump on people in the water
  • Never dive into water you may be unfamiliar with
  • Avoid alcohol while swimming

“A lot of people don’t know there are different kind of life jackets for different purposes. Some are when you're are away from land and it’s going to take someone longer to rescue you, some are made for sports, some are made if you are thrown from a water craft,” Schropp said.

Here are a few places providing swim lessons in Tulsa that are open:

Gold Fish Swim School

Safe Splash

Jenks Community

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