The ZAC Foundation believes addressing the nation’s drowning crisis requires a whole community approach informed by, and reflective of, the realities specific to individual communities, including the makeup of the local population and cultural attitudes toward water safety – whether they are located on coasts, lakes, and rivers or if they are tourist destinations with visitors of varying swimming ability.
To this end, The ZAC Foundation is working with stakeholders, including swim safety advocates, elected officials, public policy and health experts, school officials, families, and community leaders, in four U.S. communities — Central Texas, St. Louis, MO, Chicago, IL, and Greenwich/Fairfield County, CT – where there is need and deep community engagement. TZF has established Regional Drowning Prevention Task Forces in these communities so they can develop goal-oriented, time-bound community Drowning Prevention Action Plans. While the ultimate goal of this work is to reduce the drowning rate and improve water safety, we hope that these regional activities also lead to the development of a national drowning prevention plan.
The work of these Regional Drowning Prevention Task Forces has included:
- Working with a local utility company to include drowning prevention and water safety tips in a monthly newsletter;
- Developing a better data collection tool for Task Force partners to capture fatal and nonfatal drownings;
- Posting new, improved signage indicating when lifeguards are not on duty at lakefronts and when riptides are present;
- Partnering with after school programs to develop water safety curriculum;
- Working with local first responders about water safety rescue training and updating rescue equipment; and
- Developing a public education campaign to inform the public on how to report accurately the nature and location of a water emergency.
National Drowning Prevention Plan
- Data and public health surveillance;
- Life jackets/personal flotation devices;
- Rescue/CPR training;
- Barriers, entrapment, electrical safety; and
- Swimming lessons.
If you’d like to learn more, visit the Water Safety USA NWSAP website.
The ZAC Foundation hopes this plan will transform water safety in the United States, as well as help save lives today and for generations to come.