Boise Fire, Parks and Recreation and community partners team up to make life jackets more accessible
The City of Boise and key community partners are ramping up efforts to connect local families with water safety resources and create stronger water safety awareness.
The new program, centered on providing life jackets to children, is spearheaded by the Boise Fire Department, the Boise Parks and Recreation Department, St. Luke’s Health System and Idaho River Sports. The effort kicks off Wednesday, August 16 with an education event at Quinn’s Pond from 6-7 p.m.
Free and open to the public, this event will be led by the Boise Fire Department dive team and Boise Parks and Recreation Department staff members, who will be on-hand to distribute free life jackets for children whose families can’t otherwise afford them and to talk with parents and children about water safety. Idaho River Sports staff will help fit children with appropriate life jackets to take home.
The event will take place on the grass behind Idaho River Sports, next to the life jacket loaner station.
“Recent tragic events have shown that there’s a need for this kind of opportunity in our community,” said Boise Fire Chief Dennis Doan in reference to last month’s drowning of a 15-year-old boy at Quinn’s Pond. “We hope Boise families join us to get the right equipment and education to help keep their loved ones safe.”
Between 2013 and 2015, 19 kids died from drowning in Idaho. The majority of those were children nine years old and younger.
“We know that nationwide, unintentional drownings are the leading cause of death for kids between the ages of one and four, and the second leading cause of death for children between five and nine. These are preventable deaths,” said Dr. Kathryn Beattie, the executive medical director and administrator of St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital. “We’re proud to see that our community takes this so seriously, and happy to team up to help keep more of our kids safe.”
The program and Wednesday’s event will enhance ongoing efforts, including the stations at Quinn’s Pond stocked with life jackets for anyone who needs them, and a more robust water safety education program in 2018.
“We are very proud to offer these life-saving resources to the community with our generous partners,” said Doug Holloway, director of Boise Parks and Recreation. “This is a great first step and we’re eager to mature this program to make it more effective next year.”