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Home > Topics > Community Awareness
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EMS News in Focus
by Arthur Hsieh

Swim lessons save lives

By Arthur Hsieh

Southwest Ambulance Co. recently announced that eight Arizona cities are participating in its ‘Pool Pack Swim Lesson Donation’ program aimed at teaching community children to swim.

Hats off to Southwest Ambulance service today. It's great to see how an EMS provider can engage its community beyond the response and transport mode.

Arizona is hot, and pools abound. Kids playing in pools....what's the likelihood?

Right — pretty high. Under most circumstances this results in a fun activity that creates those wonderful summertime memories.

But by the same token, tragedies occur under the same conditions, when pools are unattended or distractions abound.

Over the decades, site regulations such as gated entrances and lifeguards have helped to reduce the incidence of unintentional drowning. Surface disturbance detection systems also exist that warn when something enters the pool surface.

Southwest takes it one step further by using the teaching-the-fisherman-how-to-fish approach. This way, the participants walk away with a valuable life skill and won't have to depend upon external factors to prevent a risky situation from developing in the first place.

Summertime is right around the corner, and lord knows it's already pretty warm in different parts of the country.

Have you rehearsed for that stressful pediatric drowning situation? Now is a great opportunity to do so. Review your protocols, your airway techniques, and so forth, and be ready for the situation that hopefully never comes.

About the author

EMS1 Editorial Advisor Art Hsieh, MA, NREMT-P currently teaches at the Public Safety Training Center, Santa Rosa Junior College in the Emergency Care Program. Since 1982, Art has worked as a line medic and chief officer in the private, third service and fire-based EMS. He has directed both primary and EMS continuing education programs. Art is a textbook author, has presented at conferences nationwide, and continues to provide patient care at an EMS service in Northern California. Contact Art at
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