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Phoenix to focus anti-drowning effort in high-risk areas

PHOENIX — The city of Phoenix hopes to target its anti-drowning education efforts in zip codes with the highest drowning rates.

“It won’t cost taxpayers anything,” Phoenix Vice Mayor Daniel Valenzuela said. “If there is a cost, we are finding a partner. This is a private-public partnership to do the right thing and prevent drownings.”

Valenzuela, a longtime firefighter, said the issue is close to his heart.

“Just a few weeks ago was the last time I responded to a drowning,” he said. “It’s heartbreaking. You look at parents and caretakers and you can see the hurt and anguish that they’re going through.”

The city’s new push will also highlight the dangers drowning can pose to adults as well as children.

“Many adults don’t know how to swim,” Valenzuela said. “Many of them are parents and afraid to swim so their children are afraid to swim. This new program is about education all the way around.”

The Phoenix City Council will hear the plan soon.