The second-annual, free event was held on June 3 at the Frieda Zamba swimming pool.
Two Palm Coast children died in separate drowning events in 2016, and in the hopes of preventing that from happening again, Dr. Kristen McCabe, Flagler County’s EMS medical director, and EMT Jim Caggiano, Outreach coordinator for Flagler County Fire Rescue, joined forces on June 3 to hold the second-annual WaterSafe event.
Locals were invited to attend the free event at the Frieda Zamba swimming pool on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon to learn water safety tips from professionals, as well as splash around and enjoy the water.
“We really want to make sure we keep our community safe,” McCabe said. “We will be there to help if there is an issue, but the goal is to avoid that happening. There are things that happen to our children that we can’t prevent, but this is one of the things we can.”
McCabe said teaching children to help themselves is one of the best ways to prevent future water-related injuries or deaths.
“I have experienced child death situations as an EMT,” Caggiano said. “Prevention is the best situation.”
Marta Malinowski brought her daughters Noemi, 8, Narelle, 6, and Neyla, 3, to the event because her mother-in-law's house has a pool, and she wants her girls to learn how to be safe in and around it.
Guests were given passports to get stamped at the educational booths around the pool to encourage learning while having fun. Some of the tables included free trinkets and safety brochures for families to take home. The Daytona Tortugas’ mascot Shelldon waddled around to greet children and added an element of fun alongside the Chick-fil-A cow mascot and Mermaid Gemma in the water.
“When you look around, you see the kids learning very important things, but they’re also having a ball,” McCabe said.