Learning Lifesaving, Skills for Life
Updated: Oct 20, 2018
Published in the Athlone Topic and Tarrhail magazine.
Diving into the deep-end, Water Safety Instructor Morgan Fagg, takes the Athlone Topic on a tour of Water Safety Week.
There are three Water Safety Weeks held in Athlone Regional Sports Centre each year, one at Easter and one held at the start of both July and August.
The Water Safety Weeks focus on Water Safety and Rescue skills and involve two hours of training per day. One hour in the water and the following hour talking about lifesaving tips, first aid and resuscitation. This second hour also takes a literal hands-on approach to teaching CPR.
The August Water Safety Week was held in Athlone Regional Sports Centre from August 1 to Friday 5 and diving into the deep end, we can see children as young as ten, performing some of the water safety skills they have learnt over the five day course.
Water Safety involves, firstly, personal safety as no one wants to see a second person getting into difficulty and also ways to help and assist a swimmer in distress or person who has falling into water.
Wearing clothes, the young swimmers practice throwing ringbouys, rescue ropes and performing reaching rescues. Many items are often to hand which can be thrown to a person in need such as an oar, a broken branch, ringbouys and even clothes such as a towel or jacket that can be flung at a person to grab onto. Children learn to recognise dangers, water hazards and various ways to help perform a rescue without ever having to get into the water.
In the other end of the deep end, rescuers will focus on helping people who cannot easily be helped out of the water such as people who are unconscious.
Water Safety Week is an ideal way for young people to improve their swimming, water fitness and learn life saving skills that will last a lifetime, such as CPR and resuscitation.
Practicing straddle jumps, allow people to enter the water quickly with the aim of keeping your eyes and head above water, diving into unknown or murky water would be dangerous.
Unlike competitive swimming, the children will have to keep their eyes out of the water and fixed forward. It is not a race but rescuers must quickly recognise the dangers and be able to keep their eyes on where they are going and also possibly on a person in distress.
Reaching rescues allow people to literally give someone a helping hand as many people fall into water close to shore or near boats.
Never get into the water unless absolutely necessary and remember two very basic pieces of lifesaving equipment are ringbouys and mobile phones. You might have to call for help.
999 and 112 are the two emergency numbers and 112 is available throughout Europe, for further details about learning to swim or future lifesaving courses, contact Athlone Regional Sports Centre.