- Grove City, Pennsylvania

Local News

August 10, 2012

Do not drown

Local expert offers tips to stay safe

BUTLER, MERCER COUNTIES — Hot summer weather often leads to cooling off in the pool or at the beach, but it also means an increased risk of drowning.

"People just don't understand and appreciate the power of water," said Robert Ogoreuc of Wolf Creek Township, who's also president of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance and assistant professor in the physical education department at Slippery Rock University.

Ogoreuc, also director of aquatics at SRU and the school's former swimming coach, is an Indiana, Pa., native and graduate of the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where he was on the swim team.

"That really intrigued me," he said of how that sparked his interest in water safety and drowning prevention.

The father of an 8-year-old girl and 5-year-old son, Ogoreuc is always hit hard by stories like that of Mark Goodrich Jr., a 12-year-old Sharon boy who drowned July 12 in the Shenango River.

"It's very tragic," he said.

But stories like Mark's also push Ogoreuc to urge adults to keep a close eye on children who think swimming is all fun and games.

"The numbers are on the rise this summer," he said of drowning deaths.

The most recent statistics from the state Department of Health show Pennsylvania had 79 drowning deaths in 2010 and 91 in 2009, and his weekly check of various news outlets brings up at least one report of a drowning.

He's really concerned about the inexpensive, portable pools that can be set up at a moment's notice in someone's backyard, along with other hazards like decorative ponds and hot tubs.

"Children are exploratory," Ogoreuc said of how you can't turn your back on kids if water is nearby, even a full bathtub or five-gallon bucket.

Like the Fort Lauderdale-based National Drowning Prevention Alliance, he's an advocate for a three-pronged approach to water safety and drowning prevention: safer water, safer swimmers and safer response.

A big part of that is making sure children understand the dangers of water and always having adult supervision. Ogoreuc encourages "touch supervision," meaning get in the water with your kids and stay close enough to grab them if need be.

And it's never too soon to put your children in swimming lessons, commonly offered by the American Red Cross, YMCA or other community-based groups, he said.

But adults can drown, too.

"There are many adults that don't know how to swim. It's never too late to get started," Ogoreuc said.

Michael Schultz, 31, of Lower Burrell accidentally drowned in the Allegheny River Wednesday night after falling off a pontoon boat near Pittsburgh, according to the Associated Press on Friday.

Witnesses tell police Schultz had been partying with friends before he got onto the boat, and that there was alcohol on the boat from which he fell overboard, though authorities aren't sure if that was a factor. The victim's family says he wasn't a good swimmer and witnesses say a friend who dove into the river wasn't able to rescue Schultz before he went under water.

Pool owners need to be responsible and take extra precautions by securing the area around the water with a four-sided fence and latched gates, or even install a pool alarm.

Don't leave toys floating in the pool and steer clear of chlorine dispensers shaped like toys.

Ogoreuc also recommends taking the ladder away from above-ground pools when not in use and appointing a designated adult to keep kids away from pools during parties or other gatherings. Homeowners can even hire a lifeguard to come supervise the pool.

And it doesn't hurt to ask if there's a pool, pond or other body of water at the homes of your children's friends if they'll be visiting, he said.

"It's interesting hearing them talk about water safety," he said of how his own children think safety first.

Do some research while planning the family vacation because the beach you're looking at might not have lifeguards on duty, said Ogoreuc, who also works the summer beach patrol at Ocean City, N.J.

"Moving water can be very dangerous," he said, adding rivers, lakes and streams to the list and reminding people to use designated swimming areas.

The most recent area drowning he could recall happened in July 2010, when Carnez Boone, 14, of Collingdale, Pa., died after jumping off the diving board and had trouble resurfacing while on a field trip at Stoneboro's Lakeside Park Beach.

Ogoreuc's experiences with water rescue and educating others through the Alliance have allowed him to work with some great people, including those who want to get involved with drowning prevention after losing a loved one in a water-related accident. He's also been encouraged by his work at the Jersey Shore with junior lifeguards and would like to see local communities and school districts adopt water safety programs.

For more information about water safety and drowning prevention, visit and

Published Aug. 1, 2012, in Allied News. Pick up a copy at 201 A Erie St., Grove City.

Text Only
Local News
  • ali fortunamug0802.jpg $10K reward offered

    A $10,000 reward is being offered by the family of a Grove City man, who died with his sister in a house fire on McConnell Street last year.

    August 15, 2014 3 Photos

  • Pregnancy/infant loss support group begins

    A Grove City woman is turning her pain of losing a child into a promise.
    Danielle Degilio, 26, lost her son on Dec. 12, 2010, while she was 13 weeks pregnant with him. He was named Lincoln Michael Degilio.

    August 15, 2014

  • srock supt alfonso Rock chief: It's going fantastically

    Nearly a month into his new post leading Slippery Rock Area School District, Superintendent Dr. Alfonso Angelucci said things are going well as he learns the ins and outs of the school system.

    August 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • gc book sale3.jpg USE WITH THIN Book bargains

    Betsy Hackett of Grove City browses through some hardbacks Thursday afternoon at the Grove City Community Library, which is holding its used book sale through Aug. 22.

    August 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Public invited to drilling meeting Monday

    Villa Maria is hosting a town hall meeting on Monday night to help area residents better understand drilling issues, including oil and gas laws and the zoning process.

    August 9, 2014

  • Monday meeting regards Beader

    Admitting that it should have happened months ago, members of the Northwest Democratic Alliance are meeting to consider demanding County Commissioner Brian Beader's resignation.

    August 9, 2014

  • District raises are set for vote

    Paul Gubba believes salary increases should be based on performance.
    "I have confidence in the team, but I think if someone excels, they should be rewarded," he said.

    August 9, 2014

  • jrcouncil ethanfoley.jpg Jr. council members set to serve GC

    Two new junior council members have been chosen to serve Grove City, with one planning to use the experience as a stepping stone to becoming president of the United States.

    August 5, 2014 2 Photos

  • ali manpoint plane 3.jpg Crash landing

    An elderly man survived after wrecking his plane into a bank, then landing into a wetland, about 200 feet south of Runway 28 at Grove City Regional Airport in Springfield Township on Friday.

    August 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mosquito problem surfaces

    A Columbia Avenue man told Grove City council Monday about "a serious mosquito infestation" behind his property due to what he believes is a sanitary sewage leak.

    August 5, 2014

Featured Ads
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide