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Public urged: Be a lifesaver for a safe summer

| by: Lianne Llesol

“Everyone can be a lifesaver.”

Philippine Life Saving (PLS) Secretary General Larry Alag stated this during the Kapihan sa PIA forum last May 7.

He shared that around 3,000 children nationwide aged 14 and below die from drowning each year. He added that about 40,000 Filipinos nationwide experienced near-drowning at least once in their lifetime.

With this, he emphasized the importance of knowing water safety and survival and rescue skills. PLS targets to achieve “one lifesaver per Filipino household” to help reduce drowning incidents in the country.

“If there is at least one lifesaver in the family, then he or she can teach the others. Hopefully, in the next ten years, we can say that all Filipinos are educated in water safety,” explained Alag.

He added that PLS conducts trainings with over 20,000 trained lifesavers in the country since 2000. In Cebu, PLS has trained 120 volunteers who were activated when Typhoon Yolanda came.

Lt. James Reyes of the Philippine Navy also encouraged everyone to take the challenge in becoming a lifesaver. He shared that he feared water and was challenged by those who didn’t believe he could do it. Now, he is a diver and a rescuer of the Navy.

“Even if you don’t know how to swim, you can save lives,” he said.

He added that the Navy also conducts free lifesaving and water safety trainings. Interested parties just have to send a request letter and preparations will then be made, he explained.

With the onset of this year’s summer season, PLS advised everyone to remember the Aqua Code in water safety and “be prepared.”

“Always go together, stay afloat and wave, and reach to rescue,” enumerated PLS secretary general Larry Alag.

He added that constant fluid intake is a must especially during the hot season. “It’s very important you get hydrated always. Otherwise, you will be prone to heat stroke and heat cramps that can increase the risk of drowning,” advised Alag.

He also strongly advised the parents to constantly supervise their children. “Supervision is parents’ primary responsibility. Lifesaving is secondary,” Alag pointed out.

According to Philippines Coast Guard (PCG) Central Visayas Commander Neil Azcuna, a memorandum circular has been released prescribing safety regulations in beach resorts effective this May 17.

PCG will then start conducting evaluation on all beach resorts and hotels with inland pools. Life guards, facilities and first-aid responders among others will be inspected, he said.

Administrative fees will be imposed on violators. However, closure of resorts violating the regulations is under the local government unit’s discretion, Azcuna explained. (Lianne Llesol)