Leading Community Risk Reduction

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Steven Knight


During the last 10 years, the city of St. Petersburg, Florida has experienced significantly higher fatalities due to drowning than the national and state averages. The problem is that St. Petersburg experienced a 300% increase in total submersion incidents in 2006. The purpose of this research is to identify trends in submersion incidents within the city of St. Petersburg and to make recommendations for risk reduction. Descriptive statistics were utilized to answer 5 research questions. 1. What are the similarities in submersion incidents within the city of St. Petersburg, FL? 2. What are the identifiable at-risk factors for submersion incidents within the city of St. Petersburg, FL? 3. What is the current status of drowning prevention efforts in St. Petersburg, FL? 4. What strategies do other departments employ to reduce and prevent submersion incidents? 5. What strategies are feasible for St. Petersburg Fire & Rescue to implement? A comprehensive literature review and statistical analysis, including 2-tailed t-tests and Pearson correlation coefficients, were used to answer all research questions. Results found that, overall, children under 24 had the highest per capita submersion rate. Pools were also the leading location for submersion incidents. No correlations between submersion incidents and ethnicity or socioeconomic status were found. Recommendations include increasing public education efforts, canvassing, and requiring CPR certification with construction of new pool or purchase of an existing pool.