Fire Department Fights to Prevent Drowning Deaths

The Philadelphia Fire Department is launching a new water safety program to increase awareness of the dangers of swimming in creeks, streams and rivers.

The program, Operation Stay On Shore, was announced earlier this morning during an assembly at Louis Farrell School.

While swimming is illegal in Philadelphia creeks and rivers, the activity has become a common summertime practice. Operation Stay On Shore seeks to educate residents about the hazards of swimming in these waters, including fast-moving currents following flash floods and exposure to polluted runoff.
In 2013, 6 people are known to have died while swimming or playing in Philadelphia waterways. Many people were rescued by first responders after becoming trapped by the rapidly rising waters of creeks, streams, and rivers. The mother of Brandon Boyle, the 13 year old Louis Farrell student who drowned in Pennypack Creek in July 2013, participated in the announcement.

Operation Stay On Shore is a part of the Fire Department’s mission of Community Risk Reduction. The program was created in cooperation with the Holme Circle Civic Association, the Philadelphia Water Department, the Philadelphia Police Department, the survivors of tragedies in these waterways, and community stakeholders who have shown a dedication to encouraging the safe use of Philadelphia’s parks and waters.

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