The Singapore Life Saving Society (SLSS) is sad to find out that two young lives were lost in separate drowning incidents over the weekend and another young boy drowned two days before that.
Two of the drowning incidents occurred in swimming pools and the third occurred near the sea. According to our records, swimming pools, rivers and the sea are frequently the locations with the highest number of drownings. Yet, deaths from drowning are often preventable and everyone can play a part.
We would like to highlight the following in the interest of drowning prevention:
Environmental design changes around waters that attract people –
Changes made to the environment in and around waters that attract people can reduce the incidence of drowning. These changes would include having buoys and markers to delimit swimming areas and lifesaving devices like life buoys and lines, poles and prominent signs. One study in the United States found that when such changes were made in inland lakes open to recreation activities, recreation-related drowning fell by 73% even though visitor numbers increased by 66%.
We urge the relevant authorities to put up prominent and clear warning signs so that people will avoid swimming in unsafe areas. In addition, we also urge them to make available easily accessible lifesaving aids like life buoys and poles for use by rescuers should anyone inadvertently fall into the water and need to be rescued. Such aids improve the chances of a successful rescue while reducing the risks to persons attempting the rescue.
Employ lifeguards –
Studies have shown that supervision by lifeguards reduce drownings and near-drownings and the SLSS has always advocated that persons responsible for swimming pools and aquatic facilities employ lifeguards and also install drowning prevention and lifesaving aids. Lifeguards bring with them the knowledge and skills that an untrained parent or minder may not have and lifesaving aids greatly facilitate a safe rescue. In an aquatic emergency, prompt and correct action is critical to the saving of life.
We again urge persons in charge of swimming pools and aquatic facilities that are open to swimmers and other users to employ lifeguards during their opening hours.
Parents, swimmers and users of aquatic facilities can exercise self-help through the following ways:
– learn water-survival, swimming and lifesaving skills.
– avoid swimming alone.
– be vigilant in keeping an eye on younger and weaker swimmers.
– avoid swimming pools and swimming areas where there are no lifeguards around.
– urge persons responsible for swimming pools and swimming areas to employ lifeguards and install drowning-prevention and lifesaving aids.
The SLSS, a non-profit organisation with a mission to promote aquatic safety and lifesaving, will be happy to assist interested persons with information and training on water safety, lifesaving, lifeguard skills and other drowning prevention matters. They may call our Manager at 6299-3660, fax him at 6299-0693 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Richard Tan Ming Kirk
Singapore Life Saving Society
“Articles by courtesy of SPH – The Straits Times”