Q: My family and I just moved here from another state. We moved into a house with a swimming pool. My kids are 10 and 12 years old with very little experience in swimming. Are there any city-sponsored swimming classes available to new residents?

A: The Santa Monica Swim Center is a great place to learn how to swim or learn advanced techniques to enhance your swimming experience. The Swim Center is located at 2225 16th St. in Santa Monica. You can visit www01.smgov.net/aquatics/index.htm to find out more information on the Swim Center. You can also call them at (310) 458-8700. They have a variety of classes for all swim levels.

Swimming pools can be a real treat for families, especially when the weather is warm. Pools are great areas for entertaining with friends and family or just hanging out and keeping cool. Please be aware there are some hazards that come along with swimming pools, especially when children are involved. Unfortunately, a few seconds is all it takes for a child to drown. Not only is drowning the nation’s number one killer of children under the age of 5, it’s the second leading cause of death from unintentional injuries for ages 1 to 14. Drowning can also be silent. The majority of these accidents occur in residential swimming pools and spas where no one hears a thing. Barrier fencing is the only effective means to protect a child.

Here are some very useful tips to help you keep you and your family safe in your new home: Learn the ABCs of pool safety

A = adult supervision:

•Maintain constant eye-to-eye supervision with children in and around the swimming pool.

•Assign an adult to supervise children around the pool, especially at parties.

•Floaties or other inflatable flotation devices are not life jackets and should never be substituted for adult supervision.

B = barriers:

•Have an isolation fence that separates your pool from the house, play yard, and front yard.

•Make sure all gates in isolation and yard fence are self-closing and self-latching.

•Keep all doors and windows leading to the pool area locked or install alarm devices.

•Eliminate spaces where a child could get into the pool, such as squeezing through a hole in the fence.

•Maintain a clear view (no trees, bushes or other obstacles) from the house to the pool.

•Move chairs and tables away from pool fences, so a child cannot unlatch or climb over the fence.

C = Classes:

•Learn and know how to perform CPR. (Contact the Santa Monica Chapter of the Red Cross for class schedules and fees at (310) 394-3773.)

•Enroll your child in swimming lessons.

If you’re ever faced with an emergency at a swimming pool, do the following:

1. Yell for help and get the person out of the pool.

2. Call 9-1-1 immediately and follow instructions.

3. Begin CPR if you’re trained.

4. Follow telephone instructions from the 911 operator until help arrives.

You can find more pool safety tips by visiting www.abcpoolsafety.org

Q: We didn’t use all of our fireworks on the Fourth of July this year. I don’t want to store the unused fireworks in my garage and try to save them for next year. Is there a place where I can dispose of these fireworks? Or is it OK for me to just throw them away?

A: Do not throw unused fireworks in the trash. All unused fireworks need to be disposed of properly. By dumping the fireworks in the trash, you could potentially expose yourself, your family, and your community to serious danger. There are many websites on the Internet that advise people to submerge unused fireworks in a bucket of water. This is also very dangerous as some fireworks have hazardous reactions when mixed into water. The safe and proper way to dispose of unused fireworks is to contact your local fire department. They will give you specific information on what to do and how to do it. Some agencies will have stations where you can drop off unused and unwanted fireworks.

If you live in Santa Monica, you can contact the Santa Monica Fire Department’s dispatch center for non-emergency service at (310) 458-8660. You can also visit the Santa Monica Fire Department’s website for general inquires. The website is www.santamonicafire.org Remember, do not throw unused fireworks in the trash!

This column was prepared by NRO Mike Boyd, Beat 8 (Pico Neighborhood). He can be reached at (424) 200-0688 or michael.boyd@smgov.net.

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