One in five people who die from drowning are under 14, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To prevent that statistic from becoming fact in the local community, YMCA of the Foothills is hosting a free summer water-safety class July 17, and is inviting the public to learn how to keep children safe around backyard pools, beaches and boats.

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Hosted by the Y Aquatics Safety Team, the seminar is part of a larger swim initiative launched this year to teach young kids to swim and basic water-safety lessons. This class is a way for youth, teens and adults to learn potentially life-saving information, says Healthy Living Director Ana-Marie Schaefer.

“We want to take [the initiative] a step further and reach out to older children, who may know how to swim and may be involved in aquatic activities, and parents too,” Schaefer said.

The class will teach people tips for safe swimming and boating, including what equipment and information to have on hand and what to do when accidentally caught in an ocean rip current. Additionally, attendees will learn the life-saving practice of rescue breathing.

Schaefer said drowning can be prevented with a little upfront preparation and knowledge, indicating that half of all drowning deaths occur in backyard pools, often because people are not able to respond quickly enough.

“If we can get the community to come and learn how to prevent those things, it could make out neighborhood stronger and safer,” she said.

Participants will leave with a safety handbook of reminders and numbers to call in an emergency, so they can be empowered to act should something occur.

“It’s a lot of practical information,” Schaefer said, “All are welcome to come.”

The YMCA of the Foothills’ free Summer Water Safety class will be held from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Crescenta-Cañada Family YMCA’s multipurpose room, 1930 Foothill Blvd., in La Cañada. For more information, call (818) 790-0123.