Today, we’ll discuss ways of recognizing retention pond drowning danger and then highlight a recent related tragedy. In this post, we’ll explore essential steps for minimizing the risk of drowning accidents in these seemingly innocent bodies of water. Due to their natural fascination with water, children are particularly vulnerable to drowning in retention ponds that lack protective barriers and other safety features.
What is a Retention Pond?
The first step to recognizing retention pond drowning danger is understanding what a retention pond is and how it works. In a nutshell, retention ponds are a storm water management solution. It works by collecting watershed runoff and releases it at a controlled rate through a low-flow opening.
Unlike detention ponds, retention ponds are designed to retain water at all times, with some water remaining in the pond due to higher outflow points. The outflow is regulated through the use of pipes, weirs, and orifices to prevent damage to the surrounding environment. The design of a retention pond considers the expected storm water during a typical season, and risers and weirs are used to maintain an appropriate water level during drier periods.
For a retention pond to work properly, regular maintenance is essential. This includes clearing debris and sediment from the orifice, preventing overgrowth of vegetation, and addressing erosion along the pond’s banks.
One Recent Tragic Tale
In Gainesville, there was a recent tragic incident during which a four-year-old boy drowned in a nearby retention pond. As the story goes, the child had fallen asleep next to his father at a pet spa. When his father woke up, the boy was nowhere to be found.
As the family searched for him and discovered that he had made his way to a nearby retention pond. Sadly, illustrating retention pond drowning danger, the boy was found drowned.
Gainesville Police and Fire Rescue responded to the incident and tried to resuscitate the boy. 45 minutes later, after transporting the boy to UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital, the doctor sadly told the family that the boy had passed away. His parent reportedly screamed in grief at the news that their son’s heart couldn’t restart.
This tragic tale is clearly horrible to read, yet helps to reinforce the importance active supervision and recognizing retention pond drowning danger.
Retention Pond Drowning Danger is Very Real
While there are few codes or standards in place for retention ponds, it is important to employ best practices to mitigate hazards. To prevent access to ponds, fences should be constructed in housing developments. This is especially useful for keeping children out of harm’s way.
Additionally, there should be signs posted to prevent recreational use of these retention ponds. They should not be referred to as lakes, as this provides a false sense of security. “No Swimming” warnings should be posted at any obvious entrance. Any retention pond located in a housing development or urban area should have the encased lifesaving rings placed around the pond at least every 300 feet.
Retention ponds in the south may also draw in alligators. Obviously, that’s a bad situation for swimmers. As before, warnings should be posted if this is a real possibility.
What to Do if a Child Goes Missing
The primary rule that every parent or caregiver must keep in mind when their child is missing is where to begin their search. It’s crucial to start with any nearby body of water as drowning can occur much faster than most people think. Always check the water first! As we said above, children are drawn to the water. This precautionary measure can save valuable seconds and potentially save the child’s life.