DHTML Tree Menu skip to content




contentHouston Police Department > News Releases

Water Safety Campaign Creates First United Effort

March 31, 2006 -- The kick-off of April Pools Day (Saturday April 1, 2006) may mark the start of the warm water pool season but it also ushers in a season long water safety education campaign orchestrated by numerous water safety and first responders across Houston and Harris County.

April Pools Day reinforces the partnership created between several organizations committed to protecting our children from drowning, which can occur suddenly and silently. The goal is to build awareness through efforts that will encourage use of life jackets when kids are near large bodies of water and motivate adults to be watchful when children are around any body of water including mop buckets and 5-gallon containers. The team consists of the Houston Police Department, Houston Fire Department, Safe Kids, Greater Houston Water Safety Team, Houston/Harris County Child Fatality Review Team and Texas Children's Hospital, just to mention a few. The collective efforts of these agencies have one main goal in mind: to reduce the incidence of child deaths related to water safety.

"This front line proactive effort to prevent injuries or deaths due to water submersion is the first step in making sure our children grow up happy and healthy," said HPD Chief Harold Hurtt. "As adults we must lead the way in sheltering our children from harms way, so I encourage every parent or guardian to enroll their child in swimming classes, and if they can't swim, learn safety techniques," added Chief Hurtt.

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. The HPD Neighborhood Protection Division is conducting abatement inspections on pools throughout the city looking for violations requiring owners to make repairs to pools with code violations or be shutdown. Inspectors are also looking for abandoned pools behind homes that are not occupied. Many children fall into these pools and drown. "We have an aggressive program on going to combat potential drownings before swimming season starts," said HPD Officer Jack Hanagrif of the HPD Neighborhood Protection Corp.

Occupied property that have a fencing violation that creates a dangerous pool is referred to the HPD and a DRT Officer (Differential Response Team) will meet with the resident/owner regarding code violations and compliance. Unoccupied properties that have a fencing violation create a dangerous pool situation and a "Make Safe Unit" will be sent out to evaluate and attempt to temporarily secure the fence. Houston Trauma Link is assisting HPD by identifying high-risk neighborhoods that have had submersion incidents or pool violations. Those neighborhoods will receive aggressive pool inspections and education campaigns.

AW/ 3-31-06

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