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OPERATION CENTRE (EOC)

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On a daily basis, many people have jobs in and around water that involve very specific occupational hazards. With this in mind, the NSRI has designed a course that focuses on these dangers and how employees can safely handle them.

“The Water Safety For Industry (WS4i) course can be described as a version of NSRI’s Water Safety lesson for adults, which is tailored to speak directly to the prevalent dangers in a specific industry or working environment,” the NSRI’s Drowning Prevention Coordinator Yaseen Gamiet explains.

“For example, conservationists or contract workers who do alien vegetation clearing in Cape Town rivers are often ill-prepared for peer- or self-rescue and may not easily identify dangers around them. Or, in many cases, have become complacent due to years of doing the same exercises every day.”

Tailormade

The course looks at what people do on a daily basis, and the specific occupational hazards around the work being done. The course content is decided after a fact-finding discussion between the NSRI and the company involved.

“Before the course I also go and take pictures of the people physically working,” Yaseen says. “During the course's practical session, we look at the pictures and I ask participants to highlight the dangers that they see. I then tell them what I, as someone from a rescue crew, think the dangers are as well as what is probable. It becomes super interactive and huge debates happen.”

By the end of the WS4i course, participants should exhibit a sufficient level of Water Safety knowledge and practical ability.

“This includes being able to rescue a peer safely, rescue oneself, and effectively perform simple and safe rescue techniques with basic equipment,” Yaseen says. “They should also have a good grasp of performing hands on (bystander) CPR in the event of an emergency. Ultimately we are aiming to create multiple first responders without presenting a full level 1-3 first-aid course. We’ve had really good feedback. The students are 110% more conscious of what they’re doing, and will ask things like ‘can I take an extra rope or a lifejacket along?’”

How it works

There are three course options, namely:

- The 1-day theory only course
- The 2-day course, which incorporates theory as a well as practical exercises in water
- The 3-day course, which incorporates theory, a practical in water and a Survival Swimming lesson

“The WS4i course is a paid for course, but as a non-profit we make no money off it. It covers our travel to and from the venue, as well as our instructor costs. We don’t charge per head – we charge based on the number of instructors that are needed. The venue dictates the maximum number of people who can attend,” Yaseen says.

The NSRI’s Drowning Prevention department has already tailored a course to speak to various hazards encountered by domestic workers, gardeners, and housekeepers, particularly in homes with a swimming pool.

“The benefits are three-fold. They will be able to keep themselves safe, their children will be safer because their parents know about water safety and CPR, and while they are working, they can act as the first responders for their employers,” Yaseen says.

If you’d like more information on training for your household staff or on the WS4i course, email Yaseen on yaseen@searescue.org.za

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