Push underway to prevent drownings this weekend

MESA, AZ - As we near the Memorial Day weekend, a push is underway to prevent drownings. 

A safety fair will take place this morning at 9 a.m. at Bass Pro Shop in Mesa at Mesa Riverview Mall. 

Several fire agencies from around the Valley are joining forces along with the Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona to get the message out. 

Drownings are the second leading cause of unintentional death and injury for teens and adults. Those drownings often happen in lakes and rivers when people are not wearing life jackets. 

Officials warn the holidays present more distractions and often it is too late once someone notices that someone else may be in trouble in the water. 

"They sometimes aren't panicked and splashing around," said Capt. Forrest Smith, with the Mesa Fire Department. "Sometimes they may appear to be trying to climb a ladder or trying to swim in no specific direction. You need to be aware of subtle signs." 

So far this year there have been 18 drowning fatalities total in Maricopa and Pinal Counties in pools and waterways. Eight were children.

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