Winner of the NDPA's 2012
      "Lifesaver of the Year" Award
Slide 1

2015 GLSRP Media Mentions

March 24th, 2019 by greatadmin

64 GLSRP Media Mentions in 2015

10/04/2015 – DePaulia University Student Newspaper – Thriving Chicago surf culture skirts the law

08/31/2015 – Herald Palladium – Lifeguard skills tested – Competition aims to promote beach safety

08/19/2015 – Interlochen Public Radio – “When we look at safety measures in America in schools, they have fire drills, tornado drills, school shooter drills,” says Benjamin. “And unfortunately, more school age children are going to die drowning each year than in fires, tornadoes, school shooters, and earthquakes combined the United States. So why don’t we have a water safety school curriculum?”

Swim lessons alone won’t stop the problem.

“It greatly increases the possibility of a person surviving a drowning accident,” Benjamin says, “but … it doesn’t give them immunity from drowning. So the thing is causing a shift from not just knowing how to swim, but knowing how to survive a drowning situation.”

The GLSRP wants all schools to teach students how to behave in drowning situations and how to assess risks in the water. And Traverse City public schools are providing something like that now for their 9th graders at Easling Pool.

08/14/2015 – WBEZ 91.5 RADIO – Water safety tips to keep in mind as summer winds down

08/14/2015 – Grand Haven Tribune – Respecting the lake’s power & water safety tips.

08/07/2015 – WGN “Chicago’s Very Own” – Man Makes Water Safety Education His Life’s Passion

08/06/2015 – Tinley Park Patch – Golf Outing, Dinner to Honor Memory of Drowning Victim from Tinley Park.  Matthew Kocher died in July 2013. His parents have become advocates of water safety. The Aug. 7 event will raise funds in his honor.

08/06/2015 – PR – In memory of Lake Michigan drowning victim – Golf outing and dinner – Raising money for water safety, scholarship, and community service – 412 Great Lakes drownings since 2010

08/05/2015 – WGN 9 – Promo for GLSRP Executive Director featured for “Chicago’s Very Own Segment” this Friday evening, 9 p.m. newscast.

08/04/2015 – The Detroit News – Weekend drowning deaths are wake-up call – Heads up for lake lovers: even experienced swimmers risk drowning

08/04/2015 – WSBT 22 – Ed Russo – Drownings spike in Lake Michigan over past three weeks – According to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, Lake Michigan saw 24 drownings in 2014. Many of them occurred in the late summer months. This year, Lake Michigan has seen 11 drownings — 8 of which have occurred since July 11th. Most of them in the Chicago area.

It’s very important to understand that drownings can happen to anyone, even to the strongest swimmers.

“The true question is what’s your swimming endurance? Because a drowning situation is like a marathon, I know how to run but I know I couldn’t run a marathon right now, and if you know how to swim, are you prepared to swim a marathon if you get in a drowning situation?  And unfortunately the drowning statistics for the great lakes as well as inland lakes is no.”

08/04/2015 – Chicago Tribune – Post Tribune – Warning issued for lake safety – Currents, waves present risk to lake swimmers

08/03/2015 – PR – Chase Froese is the 410th person to drown in Great Lakes as two more submerge; Petition for water safety school curriculum to break the Viscous Cycle of the Drowning Epidemic 

08/03/2015 – PR – TV talk show panelist ready to go for a water safety episode! To overcome drowning – the neglected public health issue; Over 412 Great Lakes Drownings since 2010

08/01/2015 – PR – 409 Great Lakes Drownings since 2010 plus 1 missing “Swim at your own risk” But do you really know the risks? Petition for a National Water Safety School Curriculum

08/01/2015 – CBS Chicago – Coast Guard Searching For Suburban Woman Who Went Missing In Lake Michigan

07/31/2015 – Natural Awakenings Magazine – Swimming in Nature – Splashing Safely in Lakes and Oceans

07/30/2015 – Kenosha News – LIFE RINGS SAVE LIVES – Circles of life — Group hopes to set up kiosk with water rescue rings on Kenosha’s North Pier – Water safety organizations always recommend lifesaving devices on piers and in other areas where large numbers of people congregate by the water.

“First off, life rings really do save lives. It’s irresponsible to have that [pier] access to water without having life-saving devices there. A life ring is one of the easiest ways to save a drowning victim, especially off a pier. We don’t advocate pier jumping, but we know people will do it. So having the equipment there is great.”

There have been communities that have avoided having safety equipment in public areas because of liability concerns. In Michigan, his [many] organization pushed for legislation that would shelter municipalities and organizations from increased liability related to rescue equipment on site. 

07/25/2015 – ABC 7 Chicago – Family Mourning teen who drowned at 31st St. Beach – It was meant to be a fun family day out at the beach to celebrate a sibling’s birthday. Instead, a family is now mourning the loss of 17-year-old Eddie Horns, who drowned Friday night at 31st Street Beach.

07/25/2015 – Up North Live – More than 400 drowning incidents recorded in Great Lakes since 2010

07/16/2015 – 9 & 10 News – Jamie Racklyeft, GLSRP Board Member shares his drowning survival story. Thanks for all of your hard work!

07/15/2015 – Fox 21 – Great Lakes Rescue Class Held at Park Point – Students Learned How to Recognize Swimmer in Distress

07/08/2015 – WBEZ Radio – Just Another Bull Shark Story

07/02/2015 – Great Lakes Echo – School water safety instruction as important as tornado and fire drills

06/30/2015 – WNDU TV – What to expect at the beach on 4th of July – Beach Safety Tips – 16 morning news looks at the dangers in the water in time for the 4th of July holiday

06/23/2015Lansing News Radio Show, LCC Radio WLNZ co-hosted by Bonnie Bucqueroux and Bill Castanier – Bob Pratt of the GLSRP on water safety

06/21/2015 – Grand Rapids Press – Why Lake Michigan is the most dangerous Great Lake

06/16/2015 – My Suburban Life – Canoe safety: Things to know before hitting the lake

06/16/2015 – Northwest Indiana Times – Keep your head above water this summer

06/08/2015 – PR – Open Water Surf Lifeguard In-service Training for Indiana and Michigan Lifeguards

06/07/2015 – PR – Drowning Season – Water Safety is not common Sense – Summer hasn’t started, but drowning season has. What is it going to take for water safety to become common sense? GLSRP Water Safety Class Sunday, 10 a.m. in Evanston

06/05/2015 – Grand Haven Tribune – Although schools hold drills for fires, tornados and other dangers, there is little education provided regarding water safety, Pratt said. Everyone knows how to stop, drop and roll in the event of fire, but they haven’t been given a plan in the event they are in a water emergency, he said.

Students learned about rip currents, longshore currents and structural currents. Pratt told the students that, if they are being pulled by a current, to remember to “flip, float and follow.”

Pratt said everyone should learn how to swim, have equipment such as throw rings and lifejackets around at the beach, and have a safe response planned in the event of an emergency. He told the students that it’s important to wear the correct size lifejacket that is buckled.

06/03/2015 – Star Beacon – Two local drownings in a week bring call for more education – People think of the summer months as swimming season, but some water safety experts call it “drowning season.”

06/02/2015 – Michigan’s Big Show – GLSRP Board Member, Jamie Racklyeft on his drowning accident and water safety advocacy.

06/01/2015 – Great Lakes Echo – Water Safety Campaign targets young families and risk-taking males

05/26/2015 – WBEZ Radio – Water Safety in the Windy City.

05/26/2015 – WBBM Radio – Return of Swimming Season Prompts Warning about Rip Currents

05/25/2015The European Association of Surfing Doctors shared the GLSRP’s “Signs of Drowning” illustration

05/24/2015 – Record Eagle News – Fighting the Current – Community combats drowning danger with education – “It’s your birthday and I wish you be here with us. … You would have been 19. Miss you so much, Mom.”

Jeri Rolston’s message, written on a small card dangling from a handmade paper flower, flaps unnoticed by most beach towel-toting passersby as they flip-flop their way to the waters just a few feet down the trail. The birthday message from mother to son, pinned to the sign on April 22, dangles between bulletin boards plastered with warning signs and educational materials promoting vigilance to swimmers who wade the strong currents that form just a few feet from the pristine beach.

”I go down to the beach on every holiday or when I’m having a bad day,” she said. “It feels like it just happened yesterday, you’re just not crying any more. You learn to live with it. Don’t ever think it can’t happen to you,” she said.  Jeri hopes her loss and the ensuing community effort will help prevent future drownings.

05/21/2015 – Penn State News – More than 1,700 students attend 2015 Great Lakes Children’s Water Festival – Water Systems Council holds annual event at Penn State Behrend

05/21/2015 – PR – Water Safety Priority for Leland – Four water safety presentations for the schools and the public

05/18/2015 – WUWM Radio – Advocates Say Water Safety Education is Essential for the Great Lakes Region – Lake Effect’s Mitch Teich talks with Archie Kalepa, former big wave surfer and retired ocean safety operations chief for Maui County; Dave Benjamin, executive director of the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project; and Bob Pratt, Executive Director of Education

05/18/2015WSBT TV – In over your head – Flip, Float, and Follow – If you are ever struggling in water, Flip, Float, and Follow.  The first step is flip on your back.  Second, float on your back to keep your head above water. Calm yourself and conserve energy.  The final step is to follow. Do not fight the current. Follow it to assess which way it’s flowing, then swim perpendicular to the flow to get out of the current.  If you’re too tired to swim, continue floating.  Even if no one is around to hear you, remember that if you’re floating on your back, you’re alive.

05/17/2015 – WSBT TV – Promo: In over your head – with Megan Dodson, NWS

05/15/2015 – WSBT TV – Promo: In over your head – Lifesaving techniques

05/15/2015 – PR – Day 6 of Six States in Six Days – “Swimming Safely – Understanding the Great Lakes Surf Environment” at the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center’s auditorium, 1215 North State Road 49, Porter, IN.  The presentation is recommended for everyone who swims in Lake Michigan.

05/15/2015 – PR – Day 5 of Six States in Six Days for a Water Safety School Curriculum will take place at East Olive Elementary School St. Johns 2583 Green Rd, St Johns, MI 48879 and at Eureka Elementary School 7550 N Welling Rd, St Johns, MI 48879

05/14/2015 – PR – Day 4 of Six States in Six Days for a Water Safety School Curriculum will take place at the Great Lakes Children’s Festival on the campus of Penn State Erie, the Behrend Collegein Erie, PA – drawing almost 1,700 5th grade students from Pennsylvania, New York and Ohio.

05/13/2015 – Ozaukee Press – Waterfront safety projects on the rise – Committee forges ahead with its work even though city beaches may have less use

05/13/2015 – PR – Day 3 of Six States in Six Days for a Water Safety School Curriculum will take place at Jefferson Elementary School and the Rome Fire Department for the Astabula County Water Rescue Team and First Responders.

05/12/2015 – PR – Day 2 of Six States in Six Days for a Water Safety School Curriculum will take place at Reavis High School in Burbank, IL

TV 05/12/2015 – WCIU “The U” – You & Me This Morning segment – “Power of the Surf – Water Safety.

TV 05/11/2015 – TMJ4 – Port Washington schools using proactive approach to promote water safety – In schools today there’s fire drills, tornado drills, school shooter drills, earthquake drills in some states and very little water safety education. Numbers show more school aged children will likely die from drowning than a fire, tornadoes and school shootings combined. The group will hit up six states over the next six days teaching students how to keep themselves safe.

05/08/2015 – PR – Six States in Six Days for 18 Great Lakes Water Safety Presentations to support a Water Safety School Curriculum.

05/06/2015 – Ozaukee Press – Students to learn about water safety – Water safety presentations will be made to elementary schoolchildren in Port Washington on Monday, May 11

04/29/2015 – GLSRP Report – The Vicious Cycle of the Drowning Epidemic – Breaking the Cycle

04/27/2015 – Star Beacon – Water safety class teaches local school kids how to survive

04/23/2015 – PR – ODNR Sponsoring 10 Lake Erie Water Safety Presentations – Organized by 2015 Lifesaver of the Year Award Winner, Melissa Zirkle – Addressing the Vicious Cycle of the Drowning Epidemic and the need for a water safety school curriculum

04/22/2015 – NWI Times – Survivors, victims’ families fight for increased Lake Michigan water safety – “He still was no match for the power of a rip current,” John Kocher said of his son, Matt, who stood 6 foot 4 inches tall and weighed 233 pounds.

04/22/2015 – Elkhart Truth – Group started by drowning survivor wants safer Lake Michigan – Drowning survivors, victims’ families want more education on staying safe in Lake Michigan

04/22/2015 – Fox 28 – Group co-founded by drowning survivor wants safer Lake Michigan – Drowning survivors and victims’ families are pushing for increased education on how to stay safe in Lake Michigan waters.

04/23/2015 – The Republic –  Drowning survivors, victims’ families want more education on staying safe in Lake Michigan

04/22/2015 – Post-Tribune – Conference brings attention to water safety on the Great Lakes – Water safety education on Lake Michigan stressed 

04/20/2015 – Grand Haven Tribune – ‘Flip, float and follow’ can save lives during beach season – After students at Greenwood Elementary School in Waukegan, Ill., settled in for a safety presentation Thursday, Bob Pratt asked them what they would do if they saw a fire. “Call 911!” shouted the children, who ranged from preschool through second grade. He then asked them what they would do if their clothes caught on fire, and the immediate response was “stop, drop and roll!” Last but not least, Pratt asked the students what they would do if they found themselves in a drowning situation. After the gymnasium was filled with various suggestions and sounds of confusion, Pratt taught his audience another phrase to live by: “Flip, float and follow.”

04/20/2015 – PR – Tuesday’s water safety conference in Michigan City, Indiana a ‘must attend’ for the Media!  Dynamic leaders in water safety presenting on the latest beach hazard reporting updates.

04/16/2015 – Chicago Tribune/News Sun – ‘Flip, float and follow’ can save young lives during beach season – Drowning remains a top cause of accidental death for children, CDC says

04/13/2015 – Daily Southtown Newspaper – Safe swimming the goal of drowning victim’s family – Water safety presentation hits home at Richards High School

04/10/2015 – PR – Matthew Kocher Foundation to sponsor 25 Great Lakes Water Safety  Presentations in three days for District 218 high schools and Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts of the Tinley Park area

04/09/2015 – PR – Great Lakes Beach Hazards and Water Safety Conference Set for April 21 in Michigan City, IN; Measuring, Messaging & Moving Forward 

03/18/2015WeAreSurfers.com – Surfing Survival: Tips That Could Save Your Life – Flip, Float, and Follow

03/11/2015 – Great Lakes Water Safety Conference to address dangerous currents in Lake Michigan, Superior

03/06/2015 – The FIRST LEGO League Robotics team Rip Current Simulation Survival Course

03/06/2015 – Video – The FIRST LEGO League Robotics team chose rip current awareness and prevention as their research project. They will compete at the state competition on Sunday in Orlando, Florida. They are hoping to secure a grant that will allow endless pool fast lane systems to be placed in YMCAs in its community. That way, students can practice flipping, floating, and following.

02/22/2015 – Star Beacon – Lifesaver of the Year – Zirkle will travel to Dallas to accept national award

02/02/2015 Chicago Tribune Matt Kocher Games – Special Olympians get water safety tips at Richards (Photo & Brief)

01/19/2015 – Star Beacon – Ultimate goal is to get water safety education in all schools

01/19/2015 – Star Beacon – Madison mother a contender for national drowning prevention award

01/15/2015 – News-Herald – Madison Township woman nominated for national Lifesaver of the Year

01/11/2015 – PR – Ohio mom nominated for National Lifesaver of the Year Award – For turning tragedy into a passion to help others



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