Kochi: With summer vacation round the corner, the Fire Force plans to give swimming lessons to children living on banks of Periyar in the Eloor, Aluva and North Paravur region during the holidays. What has encouraged the department to take up is initiative is the instances of drowning, especially children, during vacations in the previous years. “With so many water bodies, it is surprising that many people do not know how to swim. Every year, many people drown because they do not know swimming. We thought we would begin with the children and ensure that they learn how to swim,” said P J Jude Thadeus, Station Officer, Eloor.
The Fire Force personnel have already got the nod of the Fertilisers and Chemicals Travancore Limited (Fact) to use its swimming pool at its manufacturing unit at Udyogamandal for the purpose. Now the Fire personnel are waiting for release of a small vehicle like jeep so that selected children can be picked up for the training session and dropped back.
“We aim to give the swimming classes including it under the Janaraksha Project. With the water level low, children get into the river in groups. However, even then there will be undercurrents and dangerous spots where water will whirl in circles. We urge parents not to let kids get into water without elders accompanying them. Also during the summer vacation, the parents should keep track of where their kids are going to,” the officer said. There were at least five cases of children drowning in Periyar during long vacation in the previous years including a sibling drowned at Thottathil Kadavu, Muttom. They had come to their uncle’s house and went to Periyar to have fun.