Why we need to have lifeguards on beaches?

By: Charina Lustre
June 1, 2017

Summer is a very busy time at White Beach. Thousands of tourists converged in Puerto Galeras most popular tourist spot. With this situation comes more responsibilities for the business owners, law enforcement officers, the local government unit and our public health workers. The long weekend last April 28 to May 1 means more visitors than what Puerto Galera had during the Holy Week period. Was Puerto Galera prepared for that? Sadly, 3 people lost their lives due to drowning 2 kids and 1 adult male. Morning of the 29th, a floating body was spotted in White Beach. People rushed to rescue and started CPR as the victim was still breathing. Someone called for an ambulance but it was taking too long so the rescuers decided to put the man into a tricycle and brought him to the hospital. On their way, almost one hour after the incident happened, the trike was met by the ambulance in Balatero. Unfortunately, the man died on the way to the hospital. The man was with a kid who also drowned that same day. A day later, another kid drowned in Bulabod beach. One wonders, why wasnt there a standby ambulance service during such a peak period? Where was the tourist police, tourism personnel who could have acted as the first responders? The Fortnightly called Mayor Rockey Ilagan to ask him these question. In our conversation the Mayor stated that the Barangay and the LGU underestimated the numbers of arriving guests for that weekend. Mayor Ilagan said that he rushed to the scene as soon as he got the news and ordered to have an ambulance on standby and health workers to be on duty in White Beach during the long weekend. He also ordered the presence of more police officers at the area. He said that the MDRRMC will conduct first aid courses and training for lifeguards. What Does a Lifeguard Do? A lifeguard, whether its on the ocean, inland, or at a swimming pool, is the person in charge of the safety of everyone near or nearby. This can mean a lot of things: save drowning victims, provide first aid, protect the environment, enforce all laws, or just provide directions. To accomplish this, lifeguards need to have a lot of skills at their disposal. They, of course, need to be very accomplished swimmers. This means being physically fit, regularly exercise, and comfortable in the water. They often need to face difficult swimming environments such as the ocean, which has cold temperatures, strong currents, waves, and animal life. They also need a lot of education in medical and practical matters. As they are often the first responders, they need a good amount of EMS training. This can mean the very well known CPR, but it also means other skills such as tending to a wound or burn. Whatever the emergency, a dashing lifeguard will often be the first one to face it. For other emergencies such as a fire or a disabled boat, they have to know how to address and respond to the situation. Assistance in these areas not only saves lives, but also protects the environment. This can also mean specialized knowledge depending upon the area where they work, such as areas of high surfing activity versus boating activity. Once they have all of these internal skills, they need equipment to help them best serve the public. The most basic and one of the most useful pieces of equipment is a watchtower. This can be a large structure with large binoculars or it can be as a simple as a very tall chair. Whatever the form, a watchtower is there to help survey the waters and quickly observe any accidents. Once an accident does occur they need specialized equipment to help them take action. For small pools, this is often a large buoy to help drowning victims stay afloat and stay calm. These are great pieces of equipment since they are easy to carry, light, and save lives. Boats for the ocean, may be a part of the equipment necessary to keep lives safe. Depending upon their area, there may also be specialized equipment for boaters or surfers. Regardless of the form, there will always be some equipment available as a rescue attempt will only be performed as a last resort with no equipment. Finally, to maintain the shore of the ocean, a lifeguard will use an assortment of flags and other communication equipment to keep swimmers and boaters aware of potential dangers. I think it is time, that we make sure our visitors are safe, while enjoying the beautiful beaches of Puerto Galera.

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