Report: Child drowning at 10-year record low in Pima County

Child drownings in Pima County at a 10-year record low

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Pima County saw safer swimming pools in 2019.

For the first time in 10 years, not a single child died by drowning in the county, according to the 2019 Water Incident Report.

However, crews with the Tucson Fire Department and Tucson Rural Metro did record some close calls — each marking one pediatric call last year.

Tucson Rural Metro Fire Battalion Chief John Walka said the department’s success this year it’s all due to one thing: bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation, better known as CPR.

“Every single one of our calls we’ve had this year for drownings, we had prompt bystander CPR on every one of those calls so that’s what we really attribute these calls to,” Walka said. "There was always somebody there. If they saw the patient in the water unconscious, lifeless, somebody was always in the water right away.”

CPR certification is on the rise. In fact, Walka said more people are certified now compared to 40 years ago.

That fact is proven true inside Eclipse CPR Training, lead by instructor Mark Falconer.

“I would say that over the last few years we’ve had a growth in our business or a demand," Falconer said.

He taught nine students Thursday how important CPR can be in emergency situations.

“If CPR is performed effectively you can double, if not, triple, someone’s chance of survival," he said. “Pushing on the chest is going to buy time until an electronic device, like a defibrillator, arrives.”

When it comes to children, Falconer said bystanders should perform 30 chest compressions and two gentle breaths, utilizing two fingers on one hand.

When out by the pool , or anywhere near water, CPR trainers said it’s important to remember the ABC’s of water safety:

Active adult supervision when swimming

Barriers between children and water

Classes to know CPR.

However, local fire departments reported three adult drowning deaths, according to the 2019 report. Tucson Fire reported one adult drowning while Rural Metro reported two.

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