Kat Plint, Monday, 10 September 2012
Winner of the Child Protection Week QLD Volunteer of the Year award asks for your help
Well over the past two weeks it has amazed me how much recognition one little girl has received and all that we have achieved in her honour. I am just here to work for her and so is Andrew, her dad. Her brother Harry wanted to accept her award and told his school he did. We are very proud of what Hannah’s Foundation stands for, has achieved and continues to strive to achieve.
Since losing Hannah in 2007 the fight for saving lives just keeps on growing in need. It first started out for pool safety, then farm safety, flood safety and beaches. We have supported over 700 families and sadly everyone of those families I know personally. The need to save lives is real. The battles of running an organisation, without funding, with so much reporting and responsibilities does take its toll. Personally we have put our whole lives into this and it has been a huge cost personally, emotionally and financially. The main goal has to been to save lives but some days it just doesn’t seem enough when the tragedies still happen. It’s disheartening that prevention messages and safety are only promoted when the tragedy has happened and a life is lost. How tragic is that?
What I wish to comment on today is the desperate need to stop these senseless and preventable drownings. It is really nothing different than any other day but there is no campaign in your face, repetitive on the radio that we all remember about drowning or its prevention.
So what I want is support, support for those who battle the battles and win some but do it alone. We need your help. The media, the popular people in the community, the teachers at schools, the community in general, the advertising companies, the alcohol companies, the list goes on. Help us spread these messages and save lives.
Because drowning and its preventive measures and awareness is the responsibility of the villages or communities that we live in. Time to get serious and help us raise awareness, my voice is going hoarse and I am not being heard, it is frustrating that people and dying and but who is caring?
Tip #1 SUPERVISION: Always Supervise all swimmers, of any age with your EYES not your ears, you can’t hear drowning. Drowning is silent, you won’t hear screaming or the thrashing of people in the water. Never leave a child in a bath alone. Never rely on a bath toy or bath ring to supervise your child.
TIP #2 INTOXICATION WARNINGS: Alcohol and water don’t mix, don’t drink, swim and drown if you do you will end up dead. Alcohol companies, you need to place WARNINGS on your products that drinking and water activities can and will be fatal. Over ONE third of our drowning statistics tell us this. This also is a warning for those on prescription medication which makes you drowsy and of course those illegal ones too. Drugs/Alcohol + Swimming = Fatal.
TIP#3 BARRIERS AND SURROUNDINGS: Ensure the Barriers around your pool are compliant to the Australian Standards, make sure the doors to the pool DON’T go directly into the pool area, ensure that farms have safer play fenced off areas and if on farms ensure the kids are wearing a PDF life jacket that could save their life, ensure that your life jackets in the boat fit the people who wear them, ensure the boats equipped for an emergency and ALWAYS wear your life jacket, it won’t save you when its locked away IT MUST BE WORN. Never leave a child in a bath alone. Never rely on a bath toy or bath ring to supervise.
For portable pools, blow up pools the need for fences is crucial and the advertising of the portable pools MUST contain warning messages and the requirements of fencing.
Empty all portable pools, buckets, nappy buckets, water bowls and troughs around the home. Always be alert with water including during storms.
TIP#4 EMERGENCY PLAN: Know CPR. 93% of CPR drowning victims don’t make it. YES it’s that high. You have a 7% chance of bringing someone back to life and of that a minimum chance of walking away unscathed as a victim to brain injury. In all of these cases most if not all drownings are preventable. So abide by Tip #1, 2 and 3.
I could go on about swimming lessons and ability but most people who do drown are good swimmers and in younger children they are enrolled in lessons when they had their accidents and many question why they didn’t survive. By the time the accident occurs it’s a bit late to say “swim” they are in trouble. I am one of those parents still. It’s a
very sore point. If we prevent the accidents in the first place we shouldn’t then rely on something like ability which has failed many times.
So I urge everyone to realise that just because you swim, doesn’t mean you won’t drown. If you make a choice make sure it’s a safe choice and keep your eyes FORWARD and WATCH EVERYONE in the water. Drowning just doesn’t affect the elderly or the young it’s the ones in-between too. It doesn’t choose its victims, you can’t immunise against it all we have is prevention, which in my opinion should be a huge Topic of discussion.
Do you know a person or family affected by drowning? Can you remember a tragedy that really sticks in your mind? It happens to more than 300 families each year in Australia and over 1000 more they say are injured through water tragedies leaving with them disabilities and life time injuries.
All I can say is stay aware, prevent and be prepared. So if you have access to speaking to others on radio, on television, within the community, please let’s talk about Drowning
prevention and get the messages out there. Without specific funding to promote these messages the only time you will see drowning mentioned in the media is after a
tragedy has occurred.
There is no cure for drowning only prevention, lets prevent, raise awareness and save lives.
National Day for Drowning Prevention, Awareness and Memorial is October 4th please get behind it.