Soak up and share these pool safety tips as swimming season begins

This weekend, the cover comes off.

Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of the summer season for many and the covers are coming off neighborhood, community and backyard swimming pools throughout metro Atlanta.

Safe Kids Gwinnett and the county’s fire department have teamed up to promote swimming pool fun, while sending sobering reminders to parents and others everywhere to remain vigilant during the warmer months, when the number of drownings skyrockets.

Particularly at unsupervised private pools.

“The majority of pool-related incidents occur at backyard, apartment complex and subdivision swimming pools,” said Gwinnett Fire Captain Tommy Rutledge.

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Many of these facilities are “swim at your own risk” and require extra diligence from parents and caregivers, Rutledge said.

In 2014, Gwinnett firefighters responded to 17 drowning or near-drowning incidents. But as recently as 2011, they responded to 47.

Officials relate the decrease in numbers to aggressive community risk reduction programs aimed at raising public awareness.

One Gwinnett program encourages adults to share the responsibilities of monitoring children frolicking in the pools.

The idea behind “WATER WATCHER,” is to periodically rotate the monitoring duties to another responsible adult, to keep fresh eyes on the fun and possible danger.

“This is particularly important in situations where the pool becomes crowded or when there is no lifeguard provided,” said Bridgette Butynski, Safe Kids Gwinnett Coordinator.

For additional information on water safety, please visit To schedule a water safety program, Gwinnett residnets can contact the Gwinnett Fire Community Risk Reduction Division at 678 -518-4845 or e-mail

Here’s a guide to some of metro Atlanta’s best public pools.

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