October 2014

Lifesaving, Sea

Who to Save First – Mum or Wife?

So your mum and your wife decided to fall into the sea at the same time. Who should you save first? This classic question never fails to come up at some point of your life. So, here is a comprehensive answer that you can provide that will in one way or another, make both your mum and wife speechless. Do note that my answer is provided from my point of view as a qualified lifesaver, and can be applied in an actual situation to increase the likelihood of preserving lives.

Think before you act!

After being alerted to the situation, you have to assess the situation first:

  • How far are the victims away from you?
  • Who is the weaker swimmer?
  • Are there any rescue aids available?
  • Are you fit enough to perform the rescue?

The rule of thumb is to save the person with the higher chance of survival first. Generally, this means that you should save the person nearest to you, the weaker swimmer or who is injured first. If one of them has already become unconscious (what were you doing??), you should save the one who is conscious first.

Another thing to take note of is whether there is anything near you that can aid you in your rescue. Anything that floats and can provide support can be used to perform the rescue. All you have to do is to throw the “float” to them. If there is only one of it, throw it to the nearer person since it is far easier than to throw it far. If there is a rope that is long enough, you may even use it to perform the rescue. This means that technically, you can don’t enter the water and still save both of them!

The smart aleck who asked you the question may follow up and say “What if they are equal distance away?”

Reply: “Have you ever heard of a ‘double chin tow’?”

Basically, a “chin tow” is a form of rescue that involves you towing a conscious casualty to safety. “Double chin tow” just means you tow 2 people at one go.

Smart aleck: “What if your wife is pregnant? That is 2 lives vs. 1 life”

This is where you cook up some excuse and stop entertaining this person, regardless of whether that is your mum or your wife.

Making an informed decision is not as easy as it seems. There are more considerations that you will learn by taking up lifesaving courses. Lifesaving tests include an “Initiative Test”, where you have to exercise your best judgement to decide who to save first. So, if you want to be fully-prepared to tackle this in real life, or just to answer this question, you may wish to take up lifesaving lessons. Alternatively, leave a comment with your question and we will do our best to answer you.


The Truth about the Role of a Lifeguard in Singapore

Has the thought that “the lifeguards are a waste of resources as they merely sit on their chairs doing nothing” ever crossed your mind? If that’s the case, here are some facts that might change your mind about the importance of a lifeguard in preventing death by drowning in Singapore.

Based on statistics from the Singapore Lifesaving Society in 2010, a total number of 356 reported lifesaving rescues were performed and the total number of deaths by drowning cases heard in the Coroner’s Court was 42. Considering that Singapore is a water locked nation, this is hardly shocking news as most people will come into contact with large bodies of water from time to time.

A lifeguard seeks to prevent potential drowning cases at all times but is always ready for any emergency situations. All lifeguards are trained to identify the different categories of swimmers and are able to provide water safety advice. For example, when encountered with a weak swimmer attempting to swim at the competitive pool, the swimmer would be advised to use the training pool instead as it would be a much safer alternative.

Despite having put in some effort in making the waters a safer place for swimmers, lifeguards are on a constant lookout for emergency situations such as when a swimmer sustains an injury and panics. It is only when such situations arise that they tap on their arsenal of lifesaving techniques. Unlike what is usually depicted in dramas, where lifeguards dive in regardless of the situation, lifeguards are trained to perform rescues using techniques that can guarantee their own safety while achieving the objective of rescuing the casualty.

Hopefully, this article was able to shed some light on what a lifeguard is really doing on his chair while on duty and clear up some misconceptions regarding the profession.

SwimInSG Blog

SwimInSG’s Blog on Swimming in Singapore

SwimInSG started out in 2011 as a referral website that links students to swimming and lifesaving instructors. We have since expanded to also provide our own coaching services to organisations and individuals. We have instructors that provide swimming lessons for toddlers, children and adults, as well as lifesaving lessons.

In order to promote swimming and water safety, we have decided to start this blog. There will be posts on water safety, guides on how to teach your young ones to swim, and even video tutorials! Given that we are situated in Singapore, some of our posts will be more applicable in the Singapore context.

Do stay tuned!