“Alright, is everybody ready for a nice story?” Anaheim Fire & Rescue Marshal Allen Hogue asked a group of kids at the Haskett Public Library in Anaheim.
The group of children shyly mumbled back in response.
“That didn’t sound very enthusiastic, so is everybody ready for a nice story?” Hogue excitedly shouted.
This time, a roar of “yes” echoed though the library room.
As the weather begins to warm up, educating parents and their children about water safety becomes a top priority for the fire department.
“What we want to do here in Anaheim and throughout the county is reduce childhood drownings,” Hogue said. “Last year we had eight children who drowned and that could be prevented so our goal is to get that number down to zero.”
Hogue, accompanied by Anaheim Fire & Rescue’s Dalmatian mascot Capt. D. Tector, began to read “Stewie the Duck Learns to Swim” to the group of children.
“You’ll be safe if you learn these rules: don’t jump in until you learn how to swim because Stewie the duck wants you to be safe like him,” Hogue read.
In the book, a duck named Stewie didn’t know how to swim. Before he was allowed to join his friends in the water, Stewie had to take proper steps to ensure he would be OK swimming.
Hogue finished the story by singing the water safety song at the end of the book. Which included all the water safety rules and had the kids sing along.
Hogue then shiftedhis focus to the children’s parents.
Hogue first demonstrated how to properly secure a type two flotation device (which is a Coast Guard approved life jacket for children weighing up to 50 pounds) on a child volunteer.
He then passed out water watcher kitswhich included sunglasses, a water watcher lanyard, a step-by-step CPR guide, and a whistle.
Before the event ended, the children got to color and take pictures with Capt. D. Tector.
“Remember what Stewie did, he said never swim alone so always have an adult watching you,” Hogue told the children.