PITTSBURGH, PA (June 25, 2020) Members of the Department of Public Safety Emergency Medical Services (EMS) will be distributing youth-sized personal flotation devices (life vests) and safe swimming information packets to youth and parents at three of the city’s summer lunch grab-and-go locations on Friday, June 26.
The Safe Swim Initiative, led by EMS, aims to reduce risk for youth who may be pursuing swimming options this summer where lifeguards may not be present like home pools, private pools, or open water. Pittsburgh River Rescue, a joint operation between EMS and Police and the only certified advance life support for river rescue in Pennsylvania, cites that according to the CDC, unintentional drowning is the second leading cause of death among children aged 1-14, most frequently in home pools. There is an additional racial disparity as Black children aged 5-19 are five to ten times more likely to drown in home pools.
Thanks to a donation of youth-sized personal flotation devices from the UPMC Children's Hospital Safety Center, the initiative will provide the free life vests and educational materials to encourage children and parents to adopt safe swimming practices this summer. The life vests will be available at Ammon, Paulson and Warrington Recreation Centers from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis.