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Coalition targets apartment complex pool safety

Drowning Prevention Coalition spokeswoman Lori Schmidt displays one of the new signs. (KTAR Photo/Bob McClay)

PHOENIX -- The Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona is targeting apartment complex pool safety by adding 500 new warning signs Valleywide.

The signs will be placed at apartment complex swimming pools to encourage everyone to do their part in keeping everyone safe.

"We have it in both English and Spanish, and the signs say ‘I'm water safe,'" said the coalition's spokeswoman Lori Schmidt. "We remind folks to swim safe, always watch children, start CPR and dial 911."

Schmidt said there is something very important to remember when someone is calling 911 around a pool.

"The really important thing to remember in calling 911 in an apartment community is giving first responders the exact location of the pool and where the victim is," said Schmidt, adding that some apartment complexes have more than one swimming pool.

The Valley saw a lot of pool-related accidents last year.

"In Maricopa County, we had a total of 170 water-related incidents last year. We had 60 fatalities, and 20 of those were children," said Schmidt.

The Coalition is joining with Salt River Project and the Arizona Multihousing Association to distribute the signs. They are available to apartment complexes through SRP's website or by calling (602) 236-5646.

About the Author


Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.

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