A few months ago, we received a column from Dr. John Fletemeyer regarding a study he conducted on drowning. The research took place over three years and looked at the effects the media has on the public's views about how a typical drowning victim behaves while in the water.
Generally, our columns are a page or two at the most, and my heart sank when I realized that Dr. Fletemeyer's article would take up at least double that amount of real estate in the magazine.
My first inclination was to edit his work so that it would fit in the space we could provide. But once I started to cut, I realized that the message was too important and publishing this story in a condensed form would be a disservice not only to the data itself, but to all of the people who could benefit from it.
Making the decision to retain the majority of Fletemeyer's material required that I juggle a few other stories to create room, and now that it's done, I'm very pleased with the result.
The concept that people yell and flail their arms while drowning is a dangerous misperception created and maintained by movies and television. While it's one thing for films to propagate the idea that spies are good looking, it's another thing entirely to depict an all-too-real, silent, subtle killer as noisy and obvious.
So, as you get ready for the upcoming season, be sure to read this fascinating account of how a large percentage of individuals, even those with lifeguard training, believe that thrashing around and calling for help is a common behavior people exhibit when they're in trouble underwater. As we all know, drownings have occurred right in front of lifeguards. Literally. Never has recognizing the signs of danger been more important.
This issue also is full of information from industry experts about how to prepare your aquatics facility for the coming season. Senior Editor Steve Straehley spoke to authorities in pool chemistry and operation, programming, marketing and safety to compile the information for the handbook.
I’m proud to say that he brings something to the table as well. Last year, Steve became certified as an Aquatic Facility Operator and he's passing along some of the insights he received from that excellent class.