Rialto safety event teaches drowning prevention

Hundreds of Rialto residents plunged into safety this weekend during the annual Drowning Prevention and Safety Day.

Lifeguards performed rescue drills to show the importance of water safety during a drowning prevention and safety day in Rialto April 5.

Lifeguards performed rescue drills to show the importance of water safety during a drowning prevention and safety day in Rialto April 5.

The Saturday event at the Rialto Racquet & Fitness Center offered free swim lessons to children and families, water safety demonstrations and instructions along with exercise activities.

Hosted by the Kiwanis Club of East Rialto and the city’s Recreation and Community Services department, the event was an aim to provide free water safety education to the youth of Rialto.

“Kiwanis’ aim is to serve children and the community,” said Richard Granados, chairman of the event and Kiwanis Club of East Rialto past president.

“We’re hoping to bring that to the community through these events.”

This year’s event was a first-ever collaborative effort between the Kiwanis Club of East Rialto and the city’s Recreation and Community Services department.

In years past, the events have been separately hosted by the two groups–Kiwanis East Rialto sponsoring the drowning prevention day and the city department holding the Safety Day–and the idea to partner up for the event was in effort to utilize and combine the safety resources available and to make for a more well-attended event, said Alejandra Gonzalez, recreation programmer for Recreation and Community Services.

Rialto firefighters perform a simulated rescue.

Rialto firefighters perform a simulated rescue.

While the number of participants this year remained in the 100s, more family participation was seen during the event, Granados said.

“Plenty of families took the time to visit the booths and learn about the safety resources available, and that’s the goal,” Granados said.

More than a dozen city, county and information groups were on hand offering literature and child safety information.

But the real draw Saturday were the simulation programs.

Local firefighters held drowning demonstrations simulating real-life scenarios to help children recognize potential hazards along with the importance of safety in and around water.

Basic swim lessons, floating techniques and instructions on how to react when dangerous situations occur in and around the water were also taught to children.

The recreation department, with the help of the police department, offered car seat safety checks during the event. A family fitness seminar was also available and for those who participated in the event, received raffle tickets for a chance to win free life jackets. The life jackets were donated by the city and the Kiwanis Club of East Rialto offered giveaways that also included life vests, swim caps and free swim lessons at the Rialto center.

“We’re looking forward to partnering up again next year and years to come,” Gonzalez said.

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