Collier County Parks & Recreation recently announced that they have deployed a drowning detection system from WAVE Systems at the aquatic facility at Donna Fiala Eagle Lakes Community Park, located at 11565 Tamiami Trail East, Naples. The system is the first of its kind for a community pool in the Southeast. It works by measuring how long each swimmer’s head is underwater and provides alerts when a swimmer has been under too long.
As a result of the successful deployment, the Collier County Drowning Prevention Coalition (sponsored by NCH Safe & Healthy Children’s Coalition) has partnered with WAVE Systems to help speed the deployment of drowning detection systems throughout Collier County. As part of the new “Protect your kids, and Collier’s kids too” program, WAVE will provide the Coalition with up to $100,000 of credits to be allocated to community pools for purchasing drowning detection systems. The credits will be generated by homeowners in Collier County that purchase the new WAVE w10 system for their home pool—to protect their own kids. For each of the first 500 systems purchased by June 30, 2021, WAVE will provide $200 in credits to the Coalition—to protect Collier’s kids too.
Barry Williams, Director of Parks & Recreation, said, “We are always looking for ways to enhance water safety, and this remarkable technology will provide a critical extra layer of protection for both children and adults.”
The WAVE system has been used by thousands of swimmers around the country and involves wearing a lightweight headband called a “Tracker.” The Tracker enables the system to measure facial submersion which is considered the gold standard of drowning detection. “It’s kind of like putting on a helmet to go cycling. The Trackers are comfortable and so light that swimmers forget they’re wearing them,” said Williams.
Paula DiGrigoli, Executive Director of the NCH Safe & Healthy Children’s Coalition of Collier County, and head of the Collier County Drowning Prevention Coalition, said, “Talking with aquatics experts around the US that have deployed this technology and now that one our aquatic facilities (Donna Fiala Eagle Lakes Community Park), is using it we are very excited to see that this lifesaving technology could be used throughout Collier County.”
Mark Caron, Co-Founder & CEO of WAVE Systems, said, “The Coalition has done a remarkable job of educating the community about how quickly and silently drowning can claim lives. We are delighted to support their goal of achieving and sustaining a ZERO drowning rate in Collier County.”
Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death among children in the US, with the fatality rate stuck at nearly 1,000 drownings per year for decades. In addition to fatalities, thousands of children are hospitalized each year, with many suffering brain or lung injuries. DiGrigoli added, “We are grateful to WAVE for their support of our efforts and look forward to helping our community pools utilize these credits to deploy this lifesaving technology.”