FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project
Dave Benjamin, Executive Director, 708-903-0166, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bob Pratt, Executive Director of Education, 517-643-2553, email@example.com
Great Lakes Drownings Spiked in 2016
#GivingTuesday Water Safety Education Fundraiser:
GREAT LAKES, USA – The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project (GLSRP) announces its current drowning statistics as it also announces its plan of action to reduce those numbers in 2017.
In 2016 the GLSRP is tracking 98 Great Lakes drownings; 46 of those were in Lake Michigan plus 6 more Lake Michigan drowning accidents were last listed in critical condition. Overall since 2010, the GLSRP has tracked 536 Great Lakes drownings. Full statistics here.
The GLSRP is ready to amp up its educational services into the next swim season with its “Anything is Everything 4 Water Safety” #GivingTuesday fundraiser to support its programs. (Link: https://www.gofundme.com/anything-everything-4-water-safety)
The GLSRP is applying for an Indiana Department of Natural Resources $50,000 Matching Grant. The funds raised and matching grant will provide Northwest Indiana:
- Public Presentations: Public Great Lakes Water Safety Presentations
- School Presentations: School Great Lakes Water Safety Presentations (at least 100 for elementary, junior high, and high school students)
- Lifeguards: Open Water Surf Rescue Training (24 hours of training available for each Indiana Lake Michigan Lifeguard)
- First Responders: Open Water Surf Rescue and Water Resuscitation Training (for Paramedics, EMTs, Fire Fighters, Police Officers, Water Rescue Teams, Dive Teams, DNR Officers, and Park Employees)
- Educational Materials: videos and instructional materials for all of the above (which can be used throughout the Great Lakes Region).
- Public Education: Updated beach signage and public educational materials
“Now is the time to start planning for next year,” said Dave Benjamin, GLSRP executive director. “Unfortunately drowning continues to be a neglected public health issue [according to a 2015 World Health Organization (WHO) report] and we know that it needs to be part of the school curriculum and addressed year round.”
“Water safety and drowning survival is not common sense. It’s a silent epidemic that gets very little proactive funding or attention.”
“And water safety drowning survival is not rocket science. It is simple bullet point information that is not being efficiently or effectively delivered. Ask anyone anywhere in the United States, ‘what do you do if your clothes catch on fire’ and they will tell you, ‘Stop, Drop, and Roll.’ But ask them ‘what do you do if you are drowning’ and you’ll most often get silence and blank stares.”
Since June 2011, the GLSRP has performed 317 Great Lakes Water Safety Presentations in 7 of the 8 Great Lakes states; 166 of those occurred in 2016 and it has plans for a lot more.
PUBLIC SAFETY IN SCHOOLS TODAY
In schools today there are fire drills, tornado drills, active shooter drills, and even earthquake drills, but very little water safety education.
YET more school aged children will likely die drowning each year than in fires, tornadoes, school shootings, and earthquakes combined. Combined!
A Water Safety School Curriculum is the fastest approach to reach the largest audience and make a significant impact in the shortest amount of time. The curriculum targets elementary students, Junior High students, High School students, parents of each age group, and trainers of the curriculum.
“Water safety is extremely important in our area,” said Amy Hammon, Curriculum Coach at Barker Middle School in Michigan City, Indiana. “Students do not realize the dangers of Lake Michigan.”
“Our school has had two tragedies this past summer. It’s time to infuse water safety into our Science curriculum each year and turn the tragedies into something positive and meaningful that will save lives.”
“Pier safety and water safety can be easily infused into our Science curriculum at the middle school level.”
At Barker Middle School, students study Earth systems, weather, water, and the water cycle. It may now also integrate a purposeful study of Lake Michigan’s winds, waves, and dangerous currents.
The school is also implementing a project-based learning technology-infused Public Service Announcement project where its 7th and 8th grade students will research, plan, and create 1-minute videos to be shown at local elementary schools to take ownership of learning about the dangers of Lake Michigan and to become mentors to younger students about the dangers of Lake Michigan.
- Tracks the Great Lakes drowning statistics (536+ drownings since 2010)
- Performs “Great Lakes Water Safety” presentations and trainings (Over 317 in 7 of the 8 Great Lakes states since 2011)
- Works with family and friends of Great Lakes drowning victims to advocate water safety.
- Hosts Open Water Surf Lifeguard and First Responder In-service training
Mission: To eradicate drownings by being the leader of Great Lakes water safety by providing training, public preparedness, and public awareness.
Vision: Everyone in the Great Lakes region, nationwide and worldwide, is knowledgeable, engaged and proactive in water safety with an emphasis on the Great Lakes region.
- WGN Chicago’s Very Own segment, “Man makes water safety education his life’s passion”
- Dave Benjamin’s drowning accident and ‘Because I said I would’ water safety promise video
- John & Kathy Kocher’s “Gentle Giant” ‘Because I said I would promise video.