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Learn CPR as Life Saving Victoria reports highest level of drowning incidents for May 2022
Life Saving Victoria is calling on people in remote and regional communities to check safety measures and learn CPR heading into the cooler months, as data shows May has the highest period of risk for irrigation channel drownings in Victoria.
LSV's manager - research and evaluation Dr Hannah Calverley says now is the time to reinforce safety measures, and to remind Victorians that irrigation channels are a drowning hazard and never a safe place for anyone to swim. "Our research shows that since 2000, a quarter of all fatal drownings in Victorian irrigation channels occurred in May," Dr Calverley said. "It's vital that people are aware of drowning hazards that might not immediately jump to mind - such as the beach, a swimming pool or dam."
Dr Hannah Calverley advised that while the risks can be many, there are simple steps that can be taken like learning the CPR to prevent tragedy and to keep yourself and loved ones safe
Hazards are often overlooked
Dr Hannah Calverley says"An eski with melted ice, a full laundry trough with washing soaking or an irrigation channel on a private property are some hazards that are often overlooked, but pose a serious risk, particularly to children and older people. Irrigation channels may look calm but can have:
- Strong undercurrents
- Submerged objects
- Hidden pipes, weeds and debris
- Varying depths
"These canals also have regulator gates that can open and close quickly, drains and even submerged trees, sandbars, and rocks." Dr Calverley says.
"They can also have steep and slippery banks which could turn a slip or a trip into a drowning fatality," she said. Stevi Howdle, executive officer of Farmsafe Australia said that according to the Safer Farms Report, drowning accounts for an average of three per cent of on-farm work-related fatalities in Australia. While recent numbers from AgHealth Australia have shown drowning fatalities contribute to 31 per cent of all child fatalities on farms." Dr Calverley said.
Dr Calverley also said, "The farming environment often has many different water hazards that can range from shallow troughs and livestock dips, all the way through to large dams, irrigation canals or rivers. For obvious reasons, many of these hazards are not able to be fenced off, so a range of mitigation techniques must be employed to work and live safely."
"Wherever possible, workers should work in a team if they need to complete tasks in or around water and plans should be in place for emergency response." Ensure staff are trained in CPR and first aid as response times are critical in an emergency situation.
"Be aware of waterways such as dams, irrigation channels, lakes and more on rural properties and remain vigilant in those settings. Prevention is the best way to avoid disaster, wherever possible ensure that bodies of water are fenced off and gates are working and never propped open," she said.
Importance of CPR
Dr Calverley added, "Carers should also set designated supervisors to ensure there is no confusion about who is keeping watch of children in and around water. Active adult supervision means observing without any distractions - that includes checking phones or attending to other children." Active adult supervision means observing without any distractions - that includes checking phones or attending to other children.
"Twenty seconds and a few centimetres of water is all it takes for a toddler to drown. Always keep kids under five within arms reach around water and kids over five within eyesight. It's also vital that parents and carers learn CPR and update their skills regularly. This is especially important in remote locations where help might be further away," Dr Calverley said.
To find a CPR course head to CPR Training & Refresher Courses Melbourne | Life Saving Victoria web page.
Pictures from Life Saving Victoria Facebook page.
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