WE’RE IN THE MIDDLE of July, and those sweltering hot summer days and sky-rocketing dew points can be downright uncomfortable.
Unfortunately, the city’s public swimming pools have been closed for the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic. Nashua Fire Chief Brian Rhodes realizes water danger exists as people of all ages may be tempted to take a dip in a river, pond or other body of water to cool off. They may be unable to swim, unaware of swift-moving currents or struck by an object lurking below.
Nashua Fire Rescue and Nashua police have exceptional dive teams with the skill, experience and proper equipment needed to dive year-round in all kinds of conditions and in any water temperature. In their collaboration, the fire department focuses on rescue while the police department takes care of recovery, according to Chief Rhodes.
Sadly, Nashua Fire Rescue’s Dive Team was called to help recover the body of a 15-year-old Nashua boy from Bass Pond in Dunstable, Mass., on July 10.
The Gate City is lucky with those resources available, but drowning isn’t something you ever want to encounter in any community, and thankfully, the Gate City does not see many drownings annually, Rhodes told me.
He added that it’s been especially challenging for most families to adjust to life during the COVID-19 pandemic and that, “not everyone has a swimming pool in their backyard.”
It’s been tough for children of all ages to enjoy summertime and let loose without a care in the world. We’re confined to a different recreational environment, at least for now.
And although there is no evidence that the virus can be spread to people through the water in pools, hot tubs, spas or water play areas, it’s still not safe. Our three full-size city pools get very crowded with kids and teens, and according to Mayor Jim Donchess, each facility has a capacity of about 240 people.
The problem is the virus in the air and the various surfaces it can survive on such as water fountains, pool chairs, locker room equipment, restrooms, etc.
City officials don’t want to take the chance of opening the pools because it’s hard to maintain a safe, social distance in a single space with a large gathering. Chief Rhodes happens to agree, saying that “Pools are fenced in. Everyone’s in the water splashing around, laughing, breathing, coughing...”
I believe the mayor has made the difficult but right decision regarding our public pools. He has also kept our city safe.
It’s time for some old-fashioned backyard fun, Nashuans. Turn the hose on, run under the sprinkler, or maybe toss some water balloons around.
You can even make colorful water balloon piñatas and hang them up. Plastic bats only, and take a swing.