Discount life jackets part of safety program

Discount life jackets part of safety program

Stacy Schwandt Staff writer

Wearing a life jacket might not be a fashion statement but it can be the difference between life and death.

Two local organizations have teamed up with a sporting goods business to make sure there are plenty around when families head for the water.

The Spokane Regional Health District, the Inland Northwest Drowning Prevention Coalition and Big 5 Sporting Goods will offer discount coupons for life jackets, in an effort to improve water safety and prevent drowning in the Inland Northwest this summer.

“Injury prevention is a cornerstone of public health,” said Dr. Kim Thornburn, health officer for the Spokane Regional Health District. “Proper life jacket use is a proven method to prevent drowning.”

The coupons are good for 25 percent off jackets that cost between $25 and $50. They can be used at either of the Big 5 Sporting Goods stores in Spokane, 5725 E. Sprague or 7501 N. Division.

Coupons are available to any interested organization or community group by contacting the Spokane Regional Health District’s environmental health division at 324-1560, ext. 4. Thousands have already been distributed through schools, day care centers, community organizations and employers.

“Many people do not understand the importance of life jackets and often overlook water safety,” said Walt Monaghan of Big 5 Sporting Goods.

In 2001, 13 people drowned in four Inland Northwest counties, according to the Inland Northwest Drowning Prevention Coalition. None were wearing life jackets.

Although the campaign’s focus is on children, the coupons may be used for people of all ages. The health district recommends that people wear life jackets when boating, fishing or participating in other water activities.

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