Swimming pools, beaches, water parks and boats can be dangerous areas for children as well as adults. A 55- year old woman who was using a walker died after falling into a pool at the Beauclerc Bay Apartments. She was taken to Memorial Hospital, where she died. The homicide unit with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office arrived at the drowning scene Saturday night. This incident was ruled an accident and no foul play is expected.
Drownings and near drowning incidents are almost always preventable. Owners of swimming pools or hot tubs on private property, including apartment complexes and condominium associations, are required to protect against foreseeable risks by taking appropriate safety measures to prevent accidental drowning and may be held liable for failing to do so. Generally, apartment complex pools, have liability insurance which covers them for personal injury or wrongful death claims arising out of accidental drownings which were caused by their negligence.
It is also important for the general public to be alert and aware when partaking in activities around the water.
A recent article on Slate.com by By Mario Vittone showcased the dangers of drowning and that actual drowning looks nothing like what is portrayed on TV and the movies- it is not noisy, violent or physical. Many times drowning victims are surrounded by people who don’t know they are drowning. The Instinctive Drowning Response, named by Francesco A. Pia, Ph.D., is what people do to avoid actual or perceived suffocation in the water.
- Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. Out bodies are set up so that breathing must occur first before speech can occur
- Drowning people’s mouths alternately sink below and reappear above the surface of the water. The mouths of drowning people are not above the surface of the water long enough for them to exhale, inhale, and call out for help.
- Throughout the Instinctive Drowning Response, drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements. Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water’s surface. A drowning person cannot wave, move toward a rescuer, splash or reach for a lifesaving device
- From beginning to end of the Instinctive Drowning Response people’s bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. You only have 20-60 seconds before submersion occurs
To learn more about pool safety, go to www.poolsafety.gov. It is dedicated to safety tips and information. You can also read our blog post on the increase of drownings during the summer time.