04/29/05 — American Red Cross water safety day held

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American Red Cross water safety day held

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on April 29, 2005 1:47 PM

The Red Cross wants children to respect -- not fear -- the water so it held a day of activities to do just that.

The three-day event was held this week at Herman Park Center.

Various stations were set up to teach local third-graders about water safety. A Look Before You Leap activity taught them to check before diving headfirst or jumping into any body of water.

At another station, the students formed teams of two and raced against each other on "buddy walkers" to learn the need to swim with a buddy.

A representative from the local power squadron demonstrated boating safety while someone from Cliffs of the Neuse had a hands-on display of nature and animals that can be found around the water.

Students also had the chance to throw a ring buoy and use a shepherd's crook so they could learn to reach for something that floats to throw to someone who is drowning and to never go in after that person themselves.

They watched a CPR demonstration and then performed the maneuver on mannequins.

They also learned about the importance of wearing a life jacket, using a sunscreen and drinking plenty of water while outside in the sun and water.

A salt water tank contained different marine animals, which the students got to touch.

Coastie, the robotic tugboat, was on hand to teach the children about various aspects of water safety.

After visiting all of the 14 stations, the students were treated to a pizza luau.

An estimated 250 to 275 third-graders took part in the Water Safety Awareness event, said Chuck Waller, director of the Wayne County Chapter of the American Red Cross.

The event was a joint effort between the chapter and the Goldsboro Recreation and Parks Department.

"It was created two or three years ago when we saw an increase in drownings in North Carolina," Waller said. "It is an opportunity for the Red Cross chapter and the Recreation and Parks Department to teach our children to be safe around water, not fearful of it, and to respect it."

Cindy Umstead, health and safety director with the Red Cross chapter, and Margaret Lockard, health and safety administrative assistant, coordinated the event.