AZUSA, California -- The Los Angeles District teamed up with LA County Parks and Recreation May 31 – June 1 to produce videos promoting summer safety.
The joint production, which was shot at the Santa Fe Dam Recreational Area in Irwindale and at San Gabriel River hiking trails in Azusa, is the first official collaborative communication effort between the two organizations.
“It’s important because it is our responsibility as public servants to educate the community, so they have a safe and enjoyable time when they come to our facilities,” said District Senior Park Ranger Robert Moreno. “We are really focused on how to be safe in and around the water.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention safety statistics and estimates, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury or death for children 14 and younger, following vehicle accidents. There are more than 3,900 drownings each year in the U.S. That is an average of 11 unintentional drowning deaths per day.
“The Corps and the lake lifeguards have the same mission to serve the public and provide a safe outdoor space for recreating, especially around a water environment,” said LA County Parks and Recreation Senior Lake Lifeguard Oscar Villagomez.
Most of the completed videos, or public service announcements, will focus on water safety – including extensive life jacket information.
“My greatest fear is that parents may drop their defenses and forget how dangerous it is for children to be around water,” said Villagomez, a county employee of more than 20 years. “Drownings happen too often. It’s preventable. We must all do everything we can to make sure a fun day doesn’t become a tragedy.”
In 2019, the U.S. Coast Guard reported 613 boating-related deaths. Seventy-nine percent of these deaths were drownings, and 86 percent of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets.
“This video explains the importance of life jackets, what type of lifejackets to wear, how to properly wear them, and places to find one for free,” Villagomez said.
Most of the videos will be produced in both English and Spanish for the public’s convenience.
“It is important to look at the demographics of Los Angeles County,” said Villagomez, an LA County resident.
The public service announcements will be available on the LA County Parks and Recreation website and several LA District media platforms, including YouTube and other social media sites. In addition to the topic of water safety, one of the PSAs will focus on other summer safety topics, such as hiking safety awareness.
“I look forward to collaborating with our county supporters, so we may continue to provide outstanding service to the recreating public,” said Nicolas Figueroa, LA District park ranger. “We work really close with Parks and Recreation and are happy to be able to partner with them.”
There are six dams and five recreational parks that the Corps operates in the LA County area. LA County Parks and Rec is one of the agencies that lease Corps-operated lakes and dams.
“We really want to get the word out about water safety,” Moreno said.
For more information on drowning prevention: www.cdc.gov/drowning/facts/index.html.