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Increase in drownings brings high need for water safety education

“We need to focus on three key things, we need safer swimmers, safer and safer water and a safer response,” Pratt said.

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BENZIE COUNTY, Mi. (WPBN/WGTU) - Monday Benzie County Middle and High school students got a lesson on being safe in and around water.

Bob Pratt with the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project (GLSRP) spoke to kids at the Benzie Central High School auditorium and gave students water safety tips.

“We need to focus on three key things, we need safer swimmers, safer and safer water and a safer response,” Pratt said.

According to Pratt, last year there were 46 accidental drownings in Lake Michigan.

"Drowning will kill more people then fire, lightning, tornadoes and school shooters combined," Pratt said. "So we need to get the word out there that they need to be safe and life jackets is a big piece."

Kids learned the importance of life preservers, knowing the signs of drowning and being familiar with the area they are swimming in.

Pratt taught the kids key terms making it easier to remember, similar to “stop drop and roll.”

“Flip, float, follow is a strategy to keep yourself safe in any aquatic situation,” Pratt told the kids.

School officials say events like today are an important lessons students need to know.

“Anytime that we can give the students a reminder about water safety because we live in such a beautiful area and were blessed to be here it’s just good for them to know,” said Benzie Central Middle School Principal David Clasen.

The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project will present at several other schools in Benzie County throughout the week.

The presentations are funded by a state grant given to Paul Oliver Hospital in Frankfort.


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