Community Resilience

  Comment Banner March 2010

Every Drowning is Preventable


With cooler weather approaching it's an opportune time to reflect on the fact that in the past year many families have again been struck by a tragic drowning or near drowning.

Drowning represents the fourth most common accidental cause of death in Australia.

In South Australia 25 people lost their lives in 2009 by drowning, an increase of 56% compared to the previous year.

Drowning is also the greatest cause of accidental death for children under five - 60% occurring in backyard swimming pools.

Action has been taken to endeavour to reduce this unsatisfactory situation.

The South Australian Water Safety Committee (SAWSC) was established in 2006 to guide SA's response to water safety and encourage communication across the industry.

This has been a successful initiative with the committee developing the State Water Safety Plan 2008-2010, and effectively working together. The SAWSC meets on a quarterly basis and is focused on implementing the plan.

Membership of this committee consists of both government and non-government agencies, including Swimming SA, Surf Life Saving SA, Royal Life Saving SA, SAPOL, DTEI, DECS, Boating SA, SA Farmers Federation, Recreation SA, Kidsafe, LGA, Office of Recreation and Sport and Volunteer Marine Rescue. It's chaired by SAFECOM Chief Executive, David Place.

This year the committee is reviewing high priority issues as identified in the State Water Safety Plan such as:

  • Private Swimming Pool Legislation
  • Coastal Signage
  • Personal Floatation Devices

With the help of water safety experts Australia-wide, renowned swimming coach Laurie Lawrence, in conjunction with the Australian Government and Royal Life Saving Australia, has put together a comprehensive water safety resource for parents and caregivers for children under five years of age.

"Living With Water" is a comprehensive guide to water safety for under fives.

The "Living With Water" DVD contains information on:

  • introducing baby to water
  • water safety around the home
  • learn to swim information
  • pool fencing
  • successful supervision
  • how to perform CPR.

The SA Water Safety Committee has 30 DVDs available for SAFECOM employees. So if you have young children and a swimming pool and would like to receive a free copy please email the Executive Officer SAWSC, Alistair Baird and he will arrange a copy to be posted to you.

Remember - every drowning is preventable.

  Water Safety Committee

Executive Officer SA Water Safety Committee, Alistair Baird, left, with SES Manager Volunteer Marine Rescue, Darryl Wright at a Water Safety public display in Rundle Mall

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