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HPD Teams Up With Local Groups to Reduce Water Related Deaths

March 27, 2006 -- The HPD Juvenile and Lake Patrol Division will team up with the Safe Kids Greater Houston Water Safety Team and Houston/Harris County Child Fatality Review Team to deliver a message on ways to reduce incidents of water related deaths and injuries to children under 15-years-old. This will mark the first time the Houston Police Department, along with local and county agencies, will unite to collectively promote water safety. "This collaborative effort is unprecedented and is important in sending a unified message in keeping our children safe as they enjoy water activities" said HPD Chief Harold Hurtt.

Starting March 31 several major events will be held throughout Houston, Harris and Galveston Counties to draw attention to efforts being made to keep kids safe during the 2006 swimming season. The campaign will also reach through most parts of Southeast Texas.

The objective is to educate the public on ways to keep kids safe as they enjoy water related activities. The goal is to provide useful information to educate kids, parents and adults on ways to make sure kids remain safe in and around large and small bodies of water.

Upcoming events include:

Friday, March 31, 2006; Aquatic Risk Management Seminar, American Red Cross, 2700 Southwest Freeway: Managers from Houston/ Harris County area pools and water parks will be updated on new strategies and procedures regarding pool safety regulations as well as be given a refresher course on safety techniques.

Saturday, April 1, 2006; April Pools Day; YMCA Post Oak, 1331 Augusta Drive: This event will highlight pool and poolside activities that will re-enforce the message of how to make water related events safe for our children. The focus here will be to demonstrate ways to keep children safe and show parents and adults what to do to prevent and reduce incidences of death and injuries.

The teams' purpose is to establish a partnership to help protect children from drowning which could occur suddenly and silently. The aim is to build awareness through efforts that will encourage use of life jackets when kids are near large bodies of water and motivated adults to be watchful when children are around any body of water. The team consists of the Houston Police Department, Houston Fire Department, Safe Kids Greater Houston Water Safety Team, Harris County Public Health & Environmental Services and Texas Children's Hospital, just to mention a few. The collective efforts of all these agencies have one main goal in mind: to reduce the incidence of child deaths related to water safety.

For more information contact Susan A. Hirtz, Manager, Texas Children's Center for Childhood Injury Prevention Coordinator, at Safe Kids Greater Houston at 832-828-1303 or Stephani Adams MPH, Child Fatality Review Team Coordinator at 713-439-6137. For media questions contact Alvin Wright, HPD PIO at 713-308-3205.

AW/RMM 3-27-06

For additional information, please contact the HPD Public Affairs Division at 713-308-3200.