That's Life - July 18, 2018

It is National Drowning Prevention Week in Canada.

The Lifesaving Society designates the third week in July to focus community attention on the drowning problem and drowning prevention.

When it comes to your children, always remember, if you’re not within arms reach, you’ve gone too far. Always supervise children.

Do not drink and boat. Alcohol consumption is a factor in about 40% of boating-related fatalities.

Always wear a life jacket or an approved personal floatation device (PFD). Remember life jackets don’t work if you don’t wear them. Not wearing a life jacket or PFD was a factor in 88% of boating deaths.

I learned to respect the water at a very young age. My sisters and I were very lucky. Our mom and dad were both Red Cross Lifesaving swimming instructors and lifeguards. Most of our summer days were spent at the pool. It was a tough life but somebody had to do it. We learned to swim before we started school.

Recreational Director, back in the early days, was Ted Van Biezen. He and his wife Betty had a vision that saw every child in Three Hills become a competent swimmer. Following the opening of the outdoor pool, in Three Hills, on May 16, 1957, Ted and Betty introduced swimming lessons through the school curriculum. That program continues to this day.

Before that opening day only the brave took to swimming in the Three Hills creek, The Red Deer River or lakes in the area, and that’s if you could get to them. Many simply chose not to learn and feared the water. I thought everybody could swim. It was second nature to us. But then one summer we took our grandparents to Banff for a holiday. We hit all the pools every time we went. The Cave and Basin was the perfect fit. Upon entering the hot springs side (That wasn’t really that hot) my grandmother sank like a sack of rocks. She really didn’t have the ability to float. This is a lady who sailed across the Atlantic, from England, to make Canada her home. I’ll bet she kissed the ground when they got to Halifax.

And another little gem I learned, as the years went by was, just because you could swim like a fish when you were a kid doesn’t mean you still can. Know your limits and stick to them. Respect the water. It could save your life.

Whatever you do this summer and all year long, please play safe. Don’t become a statistic.

That’s Life