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Children, adult drowning deaths dropped in 2013

PHOENIX -- New numbers from the Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona show child fatalities related to water incidents were down 50 percent in 2013.

In Maricopa County, 43 people died in drowning incidents. Ten of them were children, four were teens and 29 were adults.

"We are very excited because last year, we had 20 child deaths and 40 adult fatalities," said Lori Schmidt, President of the Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona, of the news in the decrease in drownings.

In all, Schmidt said it was some of the lowest numbers her agency has seen since 2000.

There is no specific way to attribute the drop in drowning deaths in Maricopa County, explained Schmidt, but she said including adults in prevention messages has made a difference.

"So that people understand that are not just children who are drowning," she said.

Similarly, Schmidt said they've expanded their message to also include other bodies of water as potential hazards, aside from pools.

In recent years, the Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona has taken steps to educate communities of the dangers of drowning. They include the Water SMART Babies program, which encourages parents to include babies in water classes before they turn 1. Events and campaigns, such as Drowning Impact Awareness Month in August have potentially also contributed to the decrease in numbers.

"Drownings are 100 percent preventable," Schmidt said, adding that she hopes the positive trend of less deaths from water-related incidents continues.

The DPCA stresses three key points families should always keep in mind: Block access to water hazards, watch each other around water and learn CPR.

For more information about the DPCA, click here.

About the Author

Martha is the traffic controller in the KTAR newsroom. Her full time role is that of Assignment and Breaking News Editor of KTAR News. She oversees daily Breaking News planning and over-the air execution, and puts together the elements that make it happen. She gathers and distributes daily news assignments to reporters and editors. She also reports on a daily basis, anchors news afternoons 1-2p and fills in as anchor occasionally during other time slots. She began working at KTAR in the winter of 2012 as Desk Editor and was promoted to oversee Assignments and Breaking News in 2014. During that time, she received two awards as a journalist. The first was the 2013 APTRA Awards, where she took home 2nd place for Best Serious Future in the "Recycled Orchestra." The second was a 2014 Edward R. Murrow Award for her collaboration in KTAR's Voice for a Better Arizona Series: Immigration - seeking solutions. In her piece, Martha profiled two Arizona sisters looking for the DREAM. Martha was born in Mazatlan, Mexico. She moved to Arizona in 1996 with her parents and younger sister and has lived here since. She attended Barry Goldwater High School in Phoenix and graduated from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University in Tempe. Prior to working at KTAR news she worked in news and production at Univision Arizona in Phoenix. She also supervised the marketing, catering and public relations department at Hotel Araiza, 5-star hotel in Mexicali, Mexico. She has also been a personal trainer and aerobics instructor. When she isn't in the newsroom or behind the microphone Martha is an avid gym-goer and marathoner. She trains for two races a year and enjoys taking group exercise classes, such as kickboxing, indoor cycling and weight lifting. Martha is married and lives in Surprise, AZ with 2 dogs, Tasha and Elsa, and a cat, Sammy.


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