The U.S. National Water Safety Action Plan, a 10-year project meant to close gaps in safety research, statistics and practices, has officially been released.
The plan provides a road map for states and communities to learn more about water safety in their areas, set priorities for improving it, and implement programs and research. It provides a 12-step process that begins with identifying existing water hazards and preventive efforts and to use that base to develop tailored action plans.
To support such efforts, the national plan lays out 99 action recommendations regarding policy and legislative change, organizational change, education and training, and public awareness.
The plan also is expected to advocate the development of national minimum standards, advocacy toolkits with model laws, and national-level guidance related to improving drowning data. Among other goals, organizers hope these will help address disparities in drowning rates among certain communities.
“The Plan envisions a United States where everyone is safe in, on and around water,” said Morag MacKay, chair of the USNWSAP Steering Committee. “To get there, the plan calls for targeted collaboration and coordination of efforts, and equitable implementation of what we know works at the state, county and community levels.”
The organization has provided a number of media tools to help those wishing to reach out to the local press about the importance of water safety. These include templates for press releases, agency newsletters and social media posts, as well as talking points for those making presentations or being interviewed.
Drowning-prevention experts across the country have worked on the plan for four years. Some states have also been working on plans customized to their own conditions and needs, with California having released its Water Safety Action Plan in spring.