Keith Shimada / Special to the Home News
Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2009 | 3:41 p.m.
The Drowning Prevention Program sponsored by the Clark County Fire Department and North Las Vegas Fire Department will get a breath of new life this swimming season thanks to a donation from the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation.
The prevention program was created in 2007, but had to go on hiatus in 2008 because of a lack of funding.
With the aim of helping the community serve its public safety needs, the foundation recently donated $20,000 to get the program running again.
The foundation is a charity created by the founders of the Firehouse Subs restaurant chain, brothers and former firefighters Robin and Chris Sorensen.
Scott Alison, spokesman for the Clark County Fire Department, said the donation will be used to bring public service announcements that were produced and shown in movie theaters in 2007 back to the big screen.
The PSAs feature parents and their children in different scenarios involving pools and a bathtub in which the parent gets distracted for a second and a drowning or near-drowning incident occurs, he said.
Alison said the message is that adult supervision is the key in keeping these preventable situations from happening.
As of mid-December, the Southern Nevada Health District reported that there were 45 near drownings and nine drowning deaths in 2008. All of the deaths were children ages 4 or younger.
The announcements reminding parents to keep an eye on their children will begin in theaters this spring, Alison said.
Much of the money that has made the showing of the PSA possible again was raised by the restaurant chain's only Nevada location at 9555 S. Eastern Ave., between Silverado Ranch Boulevard and Richmar Avenue.
Leslie Wildes, the director of community programs for the foundation, said despite the Las Vegas location having opened almost midway through the year in 2007, it still raised more money than any other Firehouse Subs during 2007 and beat out all of the other restaurants again in 2008.
Franchise owner Jennifer Cowan attributes the restaurant's standing as the top donation maker to its great clientele and a loyal customer base.
"Our customers have just been so generous," she said.
Customers may donate money to the foundation by purchasing used pickle buckets for $2, dropping spare change into a canister set up by the register or, every October, participating in a yearly month-long fundraiser by purchasing $1 or $5 paper mobiles (decorative hanging pieces of paper).
Ashley Livingston can be reached at 990-8925 or [email protected].