hemet, california – It happened in a matter of seconds. Security video showed 18-month-old Cole Petit staggering out of a life preserver.
Afterwards, I walked to a family pool in Winchester, Calif., and slipped under the water.
“Like a bag of bricks, it stuck straight to the bottom,” his father, Zachary Petit, told CBS News.
Just a few meters away, Petit was applying sunscreen to his daughter. He dived for his son and rescued him from the water.
“I think I acted like a normal parent would react,” Petit said.
As a firefighter near Hemett, about 130 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, Petit has been drowned before. That’s why he has a pool fence and a motion detector in his home.
“If I had been inside the house, I would have said, ‘Hey, I’m going to hurry up and get a drink, I’m going to the bathroom.’ I can’t,” Petit said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 4,000 people die each year in the United States from accidental drowning. According to the CDC, it’s one of the leading causes of death in children ages 1 to 4, with most drownings occurring in home swimming pools.
The American Lifeguard Association (ALA) reported that half of the nation’s 309,000 public swimming pools could be forced to close or have reduced hours due to a major disaster. Lack of lifeguards.
“They will have nowhere to go and will start looking for lakes, ponds, dikes and canals,” said ALA spokesman Wyatt Worness. “There are no lifeguards there and there will be more drownings as a result.”
Petit and Hemet Fire Station Posted Rescue footage from home security cameras will be posted on social media to educate parents about water safety.
“If it can make a parent, make a parent, pay a little more attention and save one child from drowning, then I think our message has succeeded,” Petit said.