East Pierce Fire and Rescue is partnering with the Gordon Family YMCA and the Bonney Lake Police Department to host April Pools Day from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday (April 30) at the Gordon Family YMCA, 16101 64th Street East in Sumner.
The free event focuses on open-water safety in a controlled pool environment. The YMCA is waiving the membership fee for non-members to attend.
Activities will be geared toward children ages 7 to 12. An adult must accompany children age 6 and younger. The first two hours will include water safety instruction, activities and prizes followed by an open swim with the firefighters and police officers.
“The event is designed to help teach open water safety in a safe environment through fun activities and games,” Dina Sutherland, East Pierce Fire and Rescue Public Education specialist, said in a release. “The children will rotate through several stations, learning different safety skills.”
Children will discuss a significant aspect about the rivers and lakes in this area — cold water.
“It’s important to remember that even when the weather is warm, glacier-fed water in our lakes and rivers can be very, very cold. Just a few minutes in cold water can cause cold water incapacitation, making it very difficult to swim or even to keep afloat,” Sutherland said. ”Just under the surface, the temperature can be 55 degrees or colder. That kind of cold water, even on the hottest summer day, can significantly lower the body’s core temperature. If that happens, the body becomes incapable of functioning properly, affecting the ability to swim.”
Cold water incapacitation has been responsible for a number of deaths on Lake Tapps. Four years ago, three people drowned in Lake Tapps in separate incidents.
“By focusing on water safety through programs such as this, we are hoping to improve awareness,” Sutherland said.
Thanks in part to the efforts of East Pierce and the Swim Safe Coalition, no one has drowned in Lake Tapps since 2012.
“We want to make this another drown-free summer,” she said.
For more information, visit eastpiercefire.org or call 253-863-1800 during regular business hours.