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Palm Harbor Firefighters assessing pool safety in local neighborhood

Posted: 6:57 PM, Mar 21, 2018
Updated: 2018-03-21 18:57:32-04

PALM HARBOR, Fla — 684 people live in Beacon Groves, making it one of the largest neighborhoods in Palm Harbor. There are also more than 200 pools. Firefighters are going door-to-door Saturday, March 24 there to not only educate people on water safety, but point out potential hazards around their pool. 

"You turn your back for a second and kids, they move very quickly," said Dan Ziemba, a resident of Beacon Groves.

It's happened far too often; kids falling into pools and drowning. In Palm Harbor last year, A 2-year-old boy got into his neighbors backyard and drowned in the pool. 

It's why Dan Ziemba has decided to take the time to harden up the perimeter around his pool.

"It’s horrible, it’s horrible. There’s a lot of loss of life," he said. 

"Drownings are silent so it’s very important that we get this message out," said Elizabeth Graham, the Public Information Officer with the Palm Harbor Fire Rescue department.

She says fire fighters and the Suncoast Safe Kids Coalition will go door-to-door Saturday, and talk with neighbors about their pool set-ups. They also plan to fix any immediate dangers they see. Graham says fences, screens and locks on patio doors are crucial.

"It’s high enough so that a child can’t reach it and it’s also their secondary measure," said Graham, pointing out a neighbors screened in porch and door handles. "If you look outside you’ll see they have a vinyl fence outside as well. It has a lock on it and it’s up high where a child cannot reach."

Graham says they also have sensors that you can put in your pool that will alert you just in case anything accidentally falls in. 

She says you should also keep your water level up so a person or animal can grab onto the edge of the pool to get out. If you have an above ground pool, take the ladder out when you're not in it.

Graham says childproof locks at the store will run you between $3-13 and $8 for window locks. She says if you have kids in the house, invest in a pool barricade and a fence alarm. 

On Monday, Clearwater Fire Rescue will be handing out FREE life vests for kids at Station 46 located at 534 N. Mandalay Ave.

Pasco  and  Hillsborough  also have water safety education. Pasco is having an "April Pools Day" event - details are being hammered out now. In June, Hillsborough County does the "world's largest swimming lesson" where they do free swimming lessons at three local pools. Head to their Facebook pages for upcoming events.