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‘All it takes is one second’: EPFD offers water safety tips to prevent drownings

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) — This Memorial Day weekend, more pools are opening up in El Paso. The City of El Paso and Destination El Paso are opening up their first of four new water park locations in the city. Camp Cohen Water Park will open to the public tomorrow in the Northeast (9700 Gateway Blvd. N). 

The water park will feature water slides and a lazy river. Tickets or a season pass will be required for entry.

As families consider spending the weekend by the pool, El Paso emergency officials are encouraging them to focus on safety measures to prevent drownings, especially among children.

“End of the day it starts at home,” said Captain Kris Menendez, a water rescue coordinator with the El Paso Fire Department Water Rescue Team. “The parents have got to teach their kids that when they're not there, they shouldn't be swimming in the pool. Understand that one moment, I'm going go answer my phone, I'm going send a text, that's all it takes is one second for a child or even an adult to fall into a body of water and potentially drown."

Menendez said it’s important to ensure pools at home are guarded by gates. If a child can sneak past a gate, install a screen.

He also recommends enrolling a child in swimming lessons. The City of El Paso offers these lessons at a low cost. You can find details here.

Until an individual knows how to swim, they should wear a floatation device. 

“We're asking that they wear a vest versus the little floatation bubbles you see on the kids arms,” Menendez said. “Those are not rated for floatation. It's a false sense of security. Those can come off very quickly and very easily. So we're asking that parents actually use that actual life jacket for kids that have no knowledge of swimming whatsoever."

Madeline Ottilie

Madeline Ottilie is a reporter on Good Morning El Paso and co-anchors ABC-7 at noon.

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