(pxhere.com)

B.C. paramedics urge caution as summer drowning incidents on the rise in 2020

On average, 67 per cent of B.C.’s water-related deaths occur during June, July and August

B.C. paramedics are reminding people to be careful in or around the water this summer as they respond to a higher than normal number of drownings or near drownings.

According to B.C. Emergency Health Services, paramedics have responded to 149 water incidents so far this summer, with two more weeks left in August. The figures, provided as of the Aug.15-16 weekend, are already above the 138 water-related calls paramedics attended over the three summer months in 2019. On average, 67 per cent of B.C.’s water-related deaths occur during June, July and August.

This past weekend followed that trend, B.C. EHS said, with 11 calls for drowning or near drowning incidents compared to the summer average of four. The agency’s warning also follows several recent fatal incidents, including a 20-year-old man from China on Harrison Lake on Sunday (Aug. 16), a 22-year-old student from India who drowned in Cultus Lake on July 25 and a Surrey realtor who drowned trying to save his daughter in the Okanagan on Father’s Day.

READ MORE: Surrey realtor drowns in Okanagan trying to save daughter

READ MORE: Student from India drowns at Cultus Lake

READ MORE: Harrison Lake drowning victim identified as 20-year-old man from China

So far this summer, paramedics responded to 42 calls in June, 73 calls in July and 44 calls in the first two weeks of August. Last year, they responded to 35 calls in June, 55 in July and 48 in all of August.

Broken up by health authority, there have been 21 calls for drowning incidents in Interior Health, 19 in Island Health, 18 in Vancouver Coastal, nine in Fraser Health and six in Northern Health.

To prevent drowning deaths, B.C. EHS recommends:

  • Building a fence with a self-closing gate to surround all pools
  • Supervise children around water at all times, even if it is just an inflatable pool or even a bucket
  • Enrol yourself and your child in swimming lessons
  • Make sure everyone is wearing a PFD or lifejacket on a boat, and on the beach or dock for weak swimmers
  • Learn CPR and other lifesaving techniques
  • Do not consume alcohol before or during swimming or boating

@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Water

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

“We have to make a call out to address this now so our people don’t have to feel fearful,” said Tribal Chief Mina Holmes. (Carrier Sekani Tribal Council Facebook photo)
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council seeks Indigenous-led task force in northern B.C. hospitals

Request made in an open letter to federal minister Carolyn Bennett

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

Submitted
BC VOTES 2020: John Rustad re-elected in Nechako Lakes riding

The result is based on preliminary vote count and the final results will be available after Nov.6

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

The duffel bags were found to contain 84 pounds of cocaine, valued at approximately $1.2 million and 198 pounds of methamphetamine, valued at approximately $960,000. Photo courtesy U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
2 men accused of fleeing border agents near U.S.-B.C. border with $2M in drugs

Cocaine and methamphetamine seized by U.S. law enforcement in remote Idaho area near Canadian border

Pixabay photo
‘Horrific’ abuse of volunteers, staff by parents must stop: Chilliwack soccer club

Parents have become abusive after being told COVID-19 rules, email says

FILE – The Queen of Alberni ferry leaves the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal in Delta bound for Vancouver Island, Sunday, July 29, 2007. (CP PHOTO/Richard Lam) CANADA
Mechanical failure leaves nearly 200 passengers stranded on BC Ferries ship for hours

A tug arrived after dark to safely nudge the vessel into a berth so travellers could finally disembark

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Ridge Meadows RCMP (Black Press)
Maple Ridge X-ray tech convicted of sexual assault dating back 30 years

Allen James Brooks is expected to be sentenced in January 2021

BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson leaves the stage after announcing he is stepping down as party leader, during a news conference in Burnaby, B.C., on Monday, October 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Too rural, not enough diversity, soul searching needed, say BC Liberals

Elections BC says there are about 600,000 mail-in and absentee ballots across the province still to count

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau makes his way to provide an update on the COVID pandemic in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. Canada has reached a grim milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic, surpassing 10,000 novel coronavirus deaths. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Alberta COVID deaths pushes Canada past milestone of 10,000 deaths

Canada crossed the threshold of 5,000 deaths on May 12, a little over two months after the first was reported

Most Read