To help prevent drownings, the Owensboro Fire Department polished up its water rescue skills Tuesday morning. Officials say three to four drownings happen each year in the Tri-State, which is why it's so important for responders to know how to react when the unthinkable happens.
"We have a lot of people that swim, fish and do outdoor activities here so we want to make sure we're prepared to deal with emergencies as they happen," said Owensboro Fire Department Battalion Chief Steve Leonard. He spent Tuesday morning teaching his firefighters different techniques crews can use when pulling someone out of the water.
"It only takes a few inches of water to drown an individual, just enough to cover the mouth and the nose," Leonard explained.
This training comes on the heels of a drowning death in Daviess County. Earlier this month, eight-year-old Blaine Jewell drowned while at a birthday party at Diamond Lake. Authorities say he went underwater while playing with a ball.
"A lot of times throughout life, we come to the expectation that at some point in time, each and every one of us are going to pass on. But there's just no way in the world to remotely prepare to lose a child. And it is a tragedy," said Daviess County Coroner Jeff Jones.
That's why Leonard says preparing for these tragedies is so important.
"We have to try to rescue someone as quickly as we can once they're submerged under water," he said. Crews also have to train to help people who get hurt while swimming.
"A lot of injuries we have are diving accidents where people dive into water they thought was deeper than what it was, especially in water that's not clear," said Leonard. And Leonard says the most important thing to remember, is to always wear a life-jacket.
"If it's water that's not clear enough for you to see your feet, you need to have a life vest on. Very few drownings occour when people have personal floatation devices on," he said. No matter how much training crews receive, officials say the responsibility lies with parents and others in the water.