New DNR study pinpoints water dangers, reveals who’s drowning, when and where

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The heat is on and that means people will be hitting the water earlier this year.

Every year, many families face tragedy on the water. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources released a new drowning prevention report to arm Hoosiers with more knowledge to stay safe, prepared and alive.

It's a story we tell every year in hopes lives will be saved from these warnings. This year, the water safety warning comes with proof of who's drowning, where, and how.

In 2017, 114 people drowned in Indiana, with the largest number of deaths among children up to 12 years old. In all, 29 children died.

"There's also child supervision one of the top things for children. Make sure if your child is around water it's constant. Eyes on them at all times. No answering the phone, no nothing that's your concentration," said Capt. William T. Browne, an Indiana conservation officer.

Private ponds and pools were the biggest danger zones. In those cases, DNR isn't on the scene.

"Somebody fell in, one of their children fell in, somebody who was visiting fell in. And then we have to understand that most of those people were recovered or rescued by the landowner. They didn't have the proper throw bags, the life jackets," Browne said.

So, here's a tip as we usher in summer: get prepared.

"Get yourself a mailbox, a large mailbox, and in that mailbox put a life jacket. Put a throw bag in there put something that you can actually extend a pole that you can reach out to someone if they're there, that way they'll be more prepared as summer comes as people start to visit their property," Browne said.

Browne says you should learn or sharpen up on your CPR skills. If you're trying to save someone, make sure you don't become the victim.

"So we all need to learn how to properly rescue someone who is in danger. That means reach, row, throw, go."

That means:

  • Have a pole to reach out into the water
  • Have a throw bag to pull them in on
  • Have a rowboat on hand to rescue them
  • Lastly, jump in to save them

The DNR worked with multiple state agencies including the state health department and child services. The goal is to make this report available to the public in the near future as a way to talk to your family about water safety and have an idea how you should prepare for summer.