The death of two forth form students from Escuela Secundaria Tecnica Mexico in San Roman Corozal, has apparently prompted the Ministry of Health to send out an advisory on safety tips to prevent drowning. As mentioned last night, an investigation is still ongoing on the circumstances surrounding the death of 16 year old Edgar Puck from the Village of Patchakan and 15 year old Anahi Zepeda from San Joaquin who drowned in the Macal River on Friday while on a class trip in San Ignacio. With the Easter Holidays right around the corner, the Ministry of Health is partnering with the city and town councils and the National Association of Village Councils to address the issue of drowning.
Reports are that every year the Ministry records cases of drowning. During the six year period of 2008-2013, a total of 131 deaths by drowning were recorded.
Recent statistics show that in 2013, there were 20 deaths due to drowning, with the Belize and Cayo Districts seeing the greater number of deaths with 8 and 5 respectively. Males, in particular are the most at risk group, accounting for more than 80% of all drowning deaths. In 2013 alone, males represented 85% of all drowning deaths for that year.
What is interesting to note is that a closer analysis of the statistics also shows that the greater number of deaths occurred during the period of April to August coinciding with out-of-school vacation and the onset of increased temperatures in our country.
Almost all drowning occur in fresh water settings such as creeks, ponds and rivers.
And since an increase in recreational activities is expected due to the hot weather the public is advised to adhere to the following safety tips to prevent drowning. One: Know how to swim and if you swim, never swim alone and stay within armís length of someone who can swim.
Two: Wear life jackets or a floatation device while swimming. Three: Be familiar with the water body in which you are swimming. Four: Know your limit: exhaustion after swimming often leads to drowning, have a responsible adult who can swim and knows CPR, keep close supervision of children while they are in the water, avoid drinking alcohol before or during swimming, boating, or water skiing; do not drink while supervising children. Anyone with a medical condition, such as epilepsy, heart disease or high blood pressure, otherwise on the advice of a doctor should not participate in recreational water activity.