First of all welcome. If you are reading this you have some vested interest in drowning prevention. Here you are amongst like minded individuals and industry professionals who have come together to cause immediate impact in our own community, as well as provide resources for individuals like yourself wherever you may be.
Secondly, thank you. Regardless of the depths of your interest or investment in water safety and drowning prevention, simply by seeking resources and having the conversation, you are taking a huge step in the right direction. Oregon is in midst of a 10-year high in early season drowning, with nine from Memorial Day through the second week in June. (In fact, while writing this, two more swimmers were rescued yesterday and one was given CPR; they both survived) You can find more information on these incidents here.
As mentioned above, the original purpose of our drowning prevention group is to decrease drowning rates in our own community of Portland, OR through water safety education. As planning began and conversations were had in 2014, the need for our collective resources and ideas was made more obvious. With the launch of our website we will regularly report on our efforts and provide resources so that while we push drowning prevention in our own community, you might do the same in yours.
I'm going to take a minute to shamelessly plug my peers in this group; they are some of the most passionate, motivated, and knowledgeable aquatic professionals (and wonderful people) I have had the pleasure to work with. We collectively bring over a century of experience from various avenues of the aquatic industry and this group of professionals has always been passionate about water safety education and advocating for increased awareness of the dangers of water. However, even we are not immune to the fact that tragedy spawns action.
Portland, Oregon has always had a thriving aquatics community spanning bustling aquatic centers and stunning natural water ways with numerous lakes, rivers, and the Pacific Ocean. In 2013, the latest incarnation of our local pool operators association became active and Portland Area Aquatic Council (PAAC) was born again. Though most of our bimonthly meetings centered on pool safety, programming, and operation there was always the underlying feeling that we could and should do more.
In late August 2014, a particularly troubling drowning incident occurred in a lake right in our own back yard. To read more on the incident please click on this link: Hagg Lake drowning: 3 generations of Hillsboro family die in apparent accident. The passion for water safety has always been there, but this event truly tipped the scales and motivated these professionals to action immediately.
At our next few PAAC meetings we started brainstorming and quickly formed a Drowning Prevention Subcommittee. A few months later, Chair Lisa Virtue was inspired to create this website in order to have a centralized, free resource for all aquatics professionals worldwide. Soon you will be able to read the efforts of our groups members, find national resources (including financial assistance), as well as actions that were taken directly in response to the Hagg Lake drowning. Our hope is to provide a central location of resources and take one step further to fulfill our duty as aquatic professionals in educating the public in water safety.
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Our blog and the provided resources are powered by aquatics professionals in the Portland, Oregon area, as well as supported financially by VG Business Solutions.