How to create a recipe for prevention!
Assessing the potential factors that could contribute to a drowning event in order to develop a prevention program is a daunting challenge. A speaker at the NDPA Symposium in Colorado Springs pointed out the tremendous number of variables possible. Every region of the world provides different risks. What type of water is present, is it in the home or yard, in the community, is it open water such as a lake, river or ocean? Are children supervised, do individuals know how to swim, are life jackets in use? What response capabilities are in place? How many variables are there? She asked a numerologist to estimate this number and the amount was a staggering 12 million. It is no wonder that there are so many different prevention messages.
There needs to be one consistent simple message similar to Smokey the Bear for fire prevention, one which links all the different strategies no matter where they need to be in place. The Safer 3 message offers a formula for prevention that addresses the challenge of so many variables. The Safer 3 is a comprehensive initiative to dramatically reduce drowning incidents by:
1) Recognizing risks associated with water related activities
2) Implementing strategies to reduce and manage those risks
3) Responsibly maintaining those strategies
The main concept of the Safer 3 is based on the definition of the word “Safe”. Safe means you are free from risk of harm or danger. When it comes to water, that simply isn’t true. There is always risk when you are in, on or around the water. The risk may vary in degree from very slight to very severe.
The letter “r” in the word “Safer” reflects that difference. Risk of drowning is found in 3 main areas; Water, a Person which we shall refer to as a KID, since we are all someone’s kid, and a Response that will become the last chance for saving a life.
Accepting the idea that there is always some type of risk to be found in the 3 elements; water, kids (people) and response will allow the task of developing a prevention program to become more straightforward.
The factors leading up to a drowning event are often described as being a recipe for disaster. What if prevention programs were established in a manner similar to following a recipe for making a meal? Risk factors could be identified in each of the “Safer 3” areas. The family or organization could then acquire and implement the necessary resources to reduce the specific risks. What if there was a water safety recipe book that listed as many of the resources possible in each of the 3 categories to address specific risks. By asking “where is my risk”, with water, kids and response, the development of a prevention strategy becomes personalized and customized to each situation that may arise. By organizing both the areas of risk as well as the resources available to reduce them, families would be able to take a more personal role and responsibility for the safety of their loved ones.
Following the Safer 3 model will allow everyone to create a recipe for prevention.
WHERE IS YOUR RISK?
Rebecca Wear Robinson, Water Safety Advocate
National Drowning Prevention Alliance Blog