Lifeguards warn of increase in deaths by drowning

in News · 29-05-2020 01:00:00 · 0 Comments

The Portuguese Federation of Lifeguards has recorded 46 deaths from drowning in Portugal since the beginning of the year, 18 more than in the same period last year, warning of the “very serious problem” related to the beaches remaining unattended.

“So far we have 46 drowning deaths in Portugal, when in the same period last year we had 28,” said federation president Alexandre Tadeia, who was already counting the deaths that occurred on 26 May on an unattended beach, in Portimão, in the district of Faro.
According to this official, the number “is not normal” and is due to the “very serious problem” of people being able to go to the beach “without assistance for bathers”, which will only happen from 6 June.
“The assumption would be to have fewer deaths than last year due to confinement,” he said.
The warning was made after a meeting with the Working Group of the National Defense Commission, to assess the “state of play” regarding the lack of lifeguards for the next bathing season.
“We went to make the point of the statistical situation and the presentation of all the proposals that we have been talking about recently ”, said Alexandre Tadeia.
According to the federation president, these proposals include fiscal and social incentives for lifeguards, such as exemption from IRS, VAT, moderator fees or kickbacks, a special contracting regime or a change in safety devices, with the reduction of number of guards.
In April, Alexandre Tadeia had already warned that about 1,500 to 2,000 lifeguards were missing for the next bathing season, because the courses were interrupted with the declaration of a state of emergency.
“The bathing season starts on 6 June and only after that will we know whether or not there is a shortage of lifeguards. Until then, we have the feeling and concern about the availability of professionals to work this summer, given the study we did. What we do know is that, if the pattern of the last bathing seasons is maintained, we will have a shortage, because only half will return to work the following year and we were unable to hire the number that we were was supposed to ”, he said.
“When we have cafes and restaurants already open, we do not understand why indoor pools remain closed, when there are much better conditions for distancing and prevention of Covid-19 than in any of these places. If the pools opened we would be able to reactivate the courses and, at least, increase the number of lifeguards ”, he stressed.
At this meeting, Alexandre Tadeia also delivered a provisional document with “recommendations for safety measures for lifeguards”.
“We cannot give examples yet because it is a document that is in validation. We did a European study, but we are waiting for a worldwide guide. If this doesn’t arrive in time, we have this ready to go. These are very technical recommendations for rescuing in water and for transporting the victim”, he said.


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