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Health And Welfare

City lifeguards dive into inter-agency skills exchange programme

The initiative started with an idea to provide water safety training to approximately 100 SANParks Rangers of Table Mountain National Park, as they work on and around the mountain, abutting the coastline and other water bodies like dams, and may be first responders to drowning incidents.


The first phase was a water awareness programme facilitated by SAPS Water Policing and Diving Services (WPDS): Cape Town and the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), which included understanding drowning prevention and how to use the NSRI’s pink rescue buoys.


Phase two has been taking place over the past two weeks, where the City’s Senior Beach Lifeguards have conducted assessments to determine the rangers’ swim abilities before they participate in the Recreation and Parks Department’s Learn-to-Swim Programme in the off-season.


Phase three will be an advanced swimming course, where the stronger swimmers will be trained as lifeguards.


The SAPS WPDS: Cape Town has also identified some of its members to qualify as lifeguards, as building blocks to their development programmes.


In addition, the SAPS WPDS: Cape Town will be transferring skills to five City lifeguards, on what is expected from first responders when a drowning is in progress or confirmed, which search patterns to initiate to assist in finding the patient as well as the procedures and protocols to follow with body recovery operations until SAPS arrive on scene.


There is also the prospect of diving training for some City lifeguards, particularly those who work at swimming pools up to five metres deep.


‘Our lifeguards are well accustomed to working with other agencies in pursuit of public safety, particularly over our peak summer season, but this initiative takes things one step further. I am incredibly proud that we have the opportunity to utilise the skills of our lifeguards to capacitate and develop others, but also for them to acquire new skills through this partnership. While this is a short-term undertaking, I think there is immense value to be unlocked, and hopefully this is the start of similar partnerships going forward,’ said Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health, Councillor Patricia Van der Ross.

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