Our world is water. Michigan two giant land masses in the middle of the worlds largest freshwater oceans and at no point anywhere in the state are you ever more than 85 miles away from water and 41% of the total area of Michigan is water, that's the most of any state. We've also got things like Biketime, sand dunes, the Michigan Irish Music Festival, Faygo POP, and of course this amazing town called Muskegon which we call home, but let's not get to bragging too much. The rest of the states will get jealous.
With all that water, you'd think we know all about the good, and the bad that comes of it. Unfortunately in 2020 in Michigan we saw 108 drownings. That's an awful statistic to think about when most drowning deaths can be prevented through awareness, preparation, understanding risk and practicing good safety in and around water. Even those of us who live so close to Lake Michigan can be caught off guard by things like undertow, high waves, wind and more. There are also the factors like being prepared. Do you know where to look for help if you see someone in a panic in the water? Do you know how to help someone in the situation without jeopardizing yourself in the process? Can panic take over in you and lead irrational decisions and possibly you being a statistic? Holly Alway is the Coordinator of Injury Prevention at Mercy Health and since Sunday July 25th is World Drowning Awareness Day as dedicated by the United Nations, she's joined us to discuss some things going on right here in Muskegon to start to help educate, prevent and save those we might otherwise lose.
Now, this is the very first World Drowning Awareness Day, so don't be too shocked if it seems unfamiliar to you. Where we need to begin is with a knowledge base and Holly is a master at collecting data and boiling it all down so that those who are in charge of making sure our waterways are safe and we have the access to things like safety equipment, swimming lessons for kids, prevention awareness and more are all there. She's beginning all of this with a survey that anyone is being asked to participate in. Your answers will be used to help leaders understand where deficiencies lie and where improvements can be made.
We sat down to discuss some statistics about water safety in the area, some surprising statistics come to light while we talk and the survey is linked right below the video in today's story. Please take a moment to hear what Holly has to say and to fill out the survey when you are done. There are even some gift cards involved to help temp you in to completing the survey. Holly has all the details!
Holly is a community treasure. She's often tasked with talking about things we'd rather avoid, like say drowning, but it's her willingness to find the answers and help on such a large scale that leads to change in what's wrong and a better quality of life for all of us and we might not even know that it's her doing the work. The survey is short, the need is real and your help is essential. Take a few minutes off today and help lead to a safer and more secure "water world" in which we reside. Our many thanks to Holly for her time today in helping discuss this urgent issue.