National Drowning Prevention Week wraps up in Prince Albert

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald Lifeguards at the Kinsmen Water Park along with a crew from Parkland Ambulance did a spinal demonstration on Friday as part of National Drowning Prevention Week.

Prince Albert recognized National Drowning Prevention Week in Kinsmen Park.

In spite of weather hampering some plans, they were able to conclude with a Parkland Ambulance demonstration on Friday.

Janaya Fuller, one of the recreation programmers in aquatics for the City of Prince Albert, explained that the Kinsmen Water Park caters to Prince Albert as well as the north, so events like Drowning Prevention Week has more impact.

“Since we are the only water park this far north, many people come here from all over the place, not just the surrounding area,” Fuller said.

“So it’s really important for us to kind of go all out with our planning with the National Drowning Prevention Week and making sure that we have events and activities that are memorable and that are engaging because also like elsewhere, you probably won’t find that lots of these people who are in these surrounding communities will not get this information.”

Fuller explained that otherwise people will not be engaged in drowning prevention initiatives.

“We have to be representative for the whole of the north,” Fuller said.

The Kinsmen Water Park engaged partners such as Parkland Ambulance and the Prince Albert Fire Department. Weather played a factor and a demonstration by the Fire Department was rained out on Tuesday and dark threatening skies on Thursday moved the Parkland Ambulance demonstration to Friday.

“It’s so important to get them involved because they also are involved with like a lot of the rescue initiatives that come with drowning,” she said.

Fuller explained that it was important to have partners like the ambulance and fire department because most drownings occur in open water and unsupervised areas.

“It’s less than one percent of drownings across Canada are in supervised areas like pool,” Fuller said.

“So in Saskatchewan, because we have over 100,000 lakes., we have plenty of rivers. We have plenty of sloughs, even the ditches and people have their backyard pools and their hot tubs. We are very much so, even though we are kind of stereotyped by other provinces as being flat and not having much, we have a ton of water,” Fuller said.

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald A crew from Parkland Ambulance took away the ‘victim’ in a spinal demonstration on Friday as part of part of National Drowning Prevention Week.

“There are a lot of people that unfortunately drown on a yearly basis within our open water. So it’s very important that we do involve Parkland and the fire department because unfortunately, in our open water situations, they’re the ones that are there to rescue us.”

Fuller explained that the ambulance and fire department’s expertise expands on what the Kinsmen Water Park provides.

“We’re the experts on it, and we’re the ones that are here actively preventing drowning on a daily basis. But you can’t have a lifeguard on every single beach or even the river. There is plenty of drownings that happen on this river on a yearly basis and for a drowning prevention week for kids to even come from around the city and to see the signs on the billboards and to see on the news that we are engaging with Parkland and with the fire department, hopefully it will kind of bring some more awareness to drowning in the river.”

During Drowning Prevention Week, the Kinsmen Water Park planned demonstrations with lifeguards as well as activities around drowning.

“We clear out the main pool. We get them to do different types of rescues. So, for example, on Monday, we had drowning non-swimmer rescues, which is kind of just your basic jump ins, we call them,” Fuller said.

Then on Wednesday they had a submerged rescue demonstration. Which is when a person is underwater for a length of time and become unconscious and have to be pulled from the water.

“With Parkland today we’ll be doing a spinal rescue demonstration.”

They have also been handing out resources throughout the week such as boating safety and Fuller created backyard pool safety resources and safety checklists.

“We’ve in general just been kind of chatting with the patrons just in the pool when we’ve been holding main pool activities. I’ve also been trying to kind of get involved with other organizations within the community,” Fuller said.

She explained that they like to do as much as they can on Drowning Prevention Week.

“We really go all out with National Drowning Prevention Week in PA. We’re definitely seen as leaders in the province for this week. So it’s quite unfortunate that we’ve had a few rainy days and we haven’t been able to run our program in the way we’ve wanted it or intended it to,” she said.

Fuller added that the perfect weather on Wednesday allowed them to reach a large group of people and maybe recruited a few new lifeguards.