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Think about a preschool classroom, buzzing with activity and laughter. Now reflect on this sobering thought from the Florida Department of Health: enough children drown each year in Florida to fill three to four preschool classrooms. In 2010 alone, 71 children ages 1 to 4 years old drowned. This frightening thought, along with the fact that Volusia County had one of the highest drowning rates in Florida, brought multiple organizations together on Thursday, April 19, at the Cypress Aquatic Swimming Center in Daytona Beach. The City of Daytona Beach, Volusia County Health Department, Daytona Beach Fire Department, Volusia Flagler Family YMCA , and Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center banded together with one powerful message: water safety measures must be taken to prevent drowning and near-drowning accidents in Volusia County. While so far this year, that hasn’t been any reported drownings, water safety should be consider as we head into the summer season, said Dr. Bonnie Sorensen, director of the Volusia County Health Department. “When toddlers drown, it is often a silent event. They just sink. There is no screaming or crying,” Sorensen said. “When watching the pool, we’ve got to keep our eye on the prize at all times. If a child is missing, look to the bottom of the pool.” Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center CEO and President, Daryl Tol, shared Dr. Sorensen’s sentiment. “One of the hardest things we see in a hospital emergency room is a child who drowned,” said Tol. “That’s why, for the entire month of May, Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center and Florida Hospital Oceanside will offer a pair of free door alarms to the community, which can be picked up at either of our ERs. The door alarms can be placed on exits that lead to pool areas. When doors with these alarms are opened, a loud ringing alarm is sounded, alerting the household that the door is ajar. “It is our hope that this small step will help preserve the precious lives of the children in our community,” Tol said. Daytona Beach Fire Department Chief James Bland said that two-thirds of drowning fatalities occur in the bathtub, so residents must not just be cautious around swimming pools, but all standing water, such as lakes, retention ponds, oceans, and even water in buckets or wheelbarrows. “Any standing water around the house must be emptied right away,” Chief Bland said. “It takes less than 10 seconds and just one inch of water for a child to drown.” He stressed the importance of learning CPR as well as making sure every child has the opportunity to receive swim lessons. Teresa Rogers, President and CEO of Volusia Flagler Family YMCA, further emphasized the importance of swim lessons. “The YMCA has been teaching kids and adults to swim for more than 50 years,” she said. “We will never turn anyone away for not having the ability to pay for swim lessons.”