Public Officials, Swim Safety Advocates Join Drowning Prevention Roundtable

ZAC Camp at the Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich

Swim safety advocates, elected officials, public policy and health experts, school officials, families, and community leaders met on Thursday to develop a Drowning Prevention Action Plan to prevent drowning and improve water safety before pool and beach season begins.

“The Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich is committed to keeping young people safe in and around water. Working with the ZAC Foundation and the other community groups to create a countywide Drowning Prevention framework to promote water safety is crucial all throughout our county,” said Bobby Walker Jr., Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich CEO.

Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death for children ages 1-4, according to the most recent data available from the Centers for Disease Control. In 2017, there were 17 deaths due to unintentional drowning in Connecticut.

“We know that addressing this crisis requires a ‘whole community’ approach that is informed by and reflects the realities specific to individual communities, and that, together, we can make a difference and save lives,” said Karen Cohn, co-founder of The ZAC Foundation.

Community leaders who participated included Megan Ferraro, Executive Director of The ZAC Foundation, Jim Heavey, Greenwich Police Chief; Joe Siciliano, Greenwich Parks & Recreation Director; Ian MacMillan, Greenwich Harbormaster; Gaby Ratner, Executive Director, Community Centers Inc. of Greenwich; Byram Archibald, Neighborhood Center Director, David Rabin, President and CEO of Greenwich United Way; Jenna Masone, E.D. Principal, Wolfpit Elementary; Kim Leonard, Stew Leonard III Water Safety Foundation; Doreen Miner, Stew Leonard III Water Safety Foundation; Dr. Vidya Anegundi, Next Generation Pediatrics; Dr. Erik Cohen, Next Generation Pediatrics.

Also: Bobby Walker, Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich; Bob Deangelo, YMCA of Greenwich; Rev. Dr. Thomas Nins, First Baptist Church of Greenwich; Connie Harvey, American Red Cross; David Fraszka, Greenwich Department of Health’s Public Health Emergency Preparedness Coordinator; Ralph Mayo, Interim Superintendent Greenwich Public Schools, among others.

Participants plan to better understand risks associated with drowning, develop an action plan, and determine goals and measures of success unique to Greenwich and Fairfield County. Learnings from the Taskforce Roundtable could also be used to inform the development of a first-ever national drowning prevention strategy.

The Greenwich/Fairfield County Drowning Prevention Roundtable was sponsored by The ZAC Foundation and the Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich. The Drowning Prevention Taskforce intends to meet again later this summer.