Sunstar EMS, in Pinellas County, Florida, installed the FirstWatch Early Warning System in part as a crucial step in monitoring pediatric drowning, which is the leading cause of death for children under the age of 4 in Florida. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 943 children from infancy to 14 years died from drowning in the United States in 2000. Of those victims, the majority drowned in residential swimming pools, or in their backyard pools while in the care of one or both parents. In Pinellas County, the majority of submersion events occur in residential pools and involve white males under the age of 4. Although the number of drownings and near-drownings has declined since the mid 1990s, the problem is still prevalent: With 65,000 residential pools and 588 miles of coastline, the County and its public health officials face tough challenges in preventing water-related emergencies.
- July 12, 2014