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Victorian lifesavers helping save lives in Sri Lanka

Victorian lifesavers helping save lives in Sri Lanka
September 13, 2014

A program created and led by Life Saving Victoria (LSV) and teams of skilled volunteer lifesavers is helping to build life saving capacity and prevent drowning deaths in Sri Lanka.

With Australian life saving groups having engaged with Asian nations over a number of years, over the past three years Victorian lifesavers have been working with their Sri Lankan counterparts in the hope of halving drowning deaths by 2017.

Since the commencement of the program, LSV has facilitated Senior First Aid, Pool Lifeguarding and Bronze Medallion training for 275 Sri Lankans lifesavers and pool guards who are based at popular beaches and hotels across the country.

In addition to this, a further 140 volunteers in Sri Lanka have now been taught to deliver training locally, empowering and strengthening the Life Saving Association of Sri Lanka.

As part of this initiative, in September 2013 Scholars in the Building Leaders Program from Surf Life Saving Clubs from across Victoria travelled to Sri Lanka to assist in the up skilling of the Life Saving Association of Sri Lanka.

In a recent circular, LSV Club and Volunteer Services Coordinator David Potter explained that the trip "included a wide range of skills such as CPR, First Aid and vital rescue techniques.

"On the trip (the scholars) were exposed to the lack of equipment available for use in basic life-saving duties and the direct impact this has on reducing their national drowning toll.

"In Victoria we have around 40 drownings annually, whilst Sri Lanka experiences around 1,000."

In a further circular, LSV Membership & Leadership Development Manager Kate McLauchlan added "through the Building Leaders Program, Life Saving Victoria has been working to develop drowning prevention strategies and water safety programs in Sri Lanka."

In recent days this work has been commended by Victorian Minister for Police and Emergency Services Kim Wells who stated "this scholarship program is a fantastic initiative by LSV where Victorian lifesavers are imparting their internationally recognised expert training to reduce and prevent the number of drowning deaths in Sri Lanka.”

"With the help of Victorian lifesavers, Sri Lanka is fast becoming a leader in lifesaving in South-East Asia.”

LSV is also encouraging life saving clubs to donate equipment to assist water safety education, looking for donations of items of equipment including:

• Rescue Boards
• Rescue Tubes
• Swimming Fins
• CPR Manikins

If you wish to donate equipment please contact David Potter on 03 9676 6931, E: david.potter@lifesavingvictoria.com.au, to discuss whether it would be suitable for use in Sri Lanka.

Image courtesy of Sri Lankan Coastguard Services.

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