OSWEGO – On hot summer days there’s no better place to cool off than at the Oswego’s Charles E. Gallagher Pool at Fort Ontario.
A destination for children and families, the pool offers plenty of fun and sun. To ensure that visitors to the pool can safely enjoy the sunshine, the city of Oswego recently implemented a policy that promotes sun safety behaviors in children, families, and visitors to outdoor recreation settings; creates environmental supports to avoid visitor overexposure to the sun; and provides key sun safety education to visitors.
As part of that policy the city has partnered with Oswego County Opportunities (OCO) Cancer Prevention in Action program (CPiA) to raise awareness of skin cancer and the importance of sun safety. For the convenience of those at the pool OCO’s Cancer Prevention in Action program has installed four sunscreen stations; one in each changing room and two at the entrance to the pool. The sunscreen is available free of charge to everyone at the pool to encourage sun safe behaviors.
The city’s sun safety policy at the pool promotes the following basic personal strategies for preventing skin cancer for visitors.
• Wear full-body coverage clothing when outside in sunlight including four-inch full brimmed hats, long-sleeved shirts, and full-length pants (weather permitting).
• Use sunglasses that state they protect from 100% UVA & UVB. A UV-protective coating can be added to prescription glasses.
• Apply full-spectrum (UVA & UVB) sunscreen (SPF 15 or greater) to exposed skin 30 minutes before going outside in the sun. Sunscreen is provided to staff and patrons of the Oswego Fort Pool for free!
• Reduce exposure to sunlight between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when feasible.
• Play in shaded areas, when practical.
• Seek shade when outside in the sun.
Along with the addition of sun screen dispensers and sunscreen available for free to visitors and staff, sun safety instruction will be incorporated into any Oswego fort pool activities/curricula for visitors. Visitors will be encouraged and reminded to practice basic personal strategies for preventing skin cancer through on-site communications at strategic locations.
“Whether swimming or lounging by the pool, it is easy to take for granted how long your skin has been exposed to the damaging UV rays of the sun,” said Coordinator of Community Health for Oswego County Opportunities Leanna Cleveland. “Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. The sun’s UV rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes, but with the proper safety precautions you can protect yourself against skin cancer.”
“Our partnership with the city of Oswego has been nothing short of fantastic,” continued Cleveland. “In addition to the new sunscreen stations at the fort pool we have also installed sunscreen stations by the pavilion and at the splash pad in Breitbeck Park, and at Wright’s Landing Marina. The Cancer Prevention in Action program focuses on educating community members on what they can do to prevent cancer. I appreciate that Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow and the city’s leaders have partnered with us to support our efforts and promote sun safety to the city’s residents and visitors.”
“Implementing a sun safety policy and installing sun screen dispensers will protect Oswego families, particularly our children, while swimming at the city pool, said Mayor Barlow. “The free sun screen stations we have installed at the pool, marina and other city parks provide residents with the opportunity to access proper protection from the sun while they enjoy our wonderful improvements and amenities. As always, I deeply appreciate our continued partnership with OCO on sun safety policies as we continue working together to better protect our residents.”
Oswego County Opportunities is a subcontractor of the St. Lawrence Health Initiative to deliver the Cancer Prevention in Action grant locally in Oswego County. To learn more about the Cancer Prevention in Action Program, which is supported with funds from the state of New York, visit takeactionagainstcancer.com.