Registrations are open for places in two practical water safety education days run as part of Toowoomba Regional Council’s (TRC) Downs Little Lifeguards program.
Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio said another summer blighted by drownings around the country highlighted the importance of educating people about water safety, plus correct survival and rescue skills.
The education days for children from nine to 17 include:
• Dam Buster Day – Sunday, February 24 from 9am to 3pm at Lake Moogerah Caravan Park, 170 Ski Zone Road, Lake Moogerah
• Beach Day – Sunday, March 10 from 9am to 3pm at Miami Surf Lifesaving Club, Miami Beach at the Gold Coast.
The cost is $15 per child, per day. Rash shirts can be purchased for $25. Young people interested in attending need to be competent swimmers (complete 50m without difficulty unaided). Bookings are required and attendees are to arrange their own travel.
Register online by visiting www.tr.qld.gov.au/downslittlelifeguards
Mayor Antonio said Council was committed to educating the community and eliminating drowning deaths, especially in inland waterways.
“The Downs Little Lifeguards program evolved from the Just One campaign which highlighted that one act, such as active supervision, knowing CPR, doing a first aid course, checking safety equipment or enrolling in swimming lessons, could save a life,” Mayor Antonio said.
“A more targeted program, Downs Little Lifeguards, was devised by TRC Aquatic Centre staff and volunteers from Royal Lifesaving Queensland, to provide a community water safety education program.
“More than 250 young people have completed the drowning prevention program since it started in 2014.
“These are important life skills that all children should be taught to ensure they know the dangers involved in swimming in different bodies of water and how to safely attempt a rescue or administer first aid in the event of an emergency.
“Lessons around rescue techniques will instruct attendees how to avoid becoming a statistic when going to the aid of a person in trouble.
“The program previously has accepted the Royal Lifesaving Society’s National Aquatic Industry Award for Excellence in Aquatic Safety (public messaging and education).”
TRC Community Development and Facilities portfolio leader Cr Geoff McDonald said the Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report 2018 revealed that 25% of drowning deaths in 2017/18 occurred in rivers, creeks, lakes and dams (down from 37% in 2014/15).
Cr McDonald said awareness programs such as Downs Little Lifeguards aimed to teach as many families as possible swimming survival skills and highlight unknown dangers in dams, creeks and rivers.
“People are well aware of the importance of swimming between the flags at the beach,” Cr McDonald said.
“The Downs Little Lifeguards water safety program has rightly turned the focus on taking all precautions in inland waterways. You never know what is beneath the water surface.
“The February and March programs will offer fun, interactive training days that will provide life-long skills.
“Children will receive hands-on training with accredited Royal Lifesaving instructors. Parents and guardians are welcome to attend or volunteer at the sessions.”