The City of Johannesburg’s Emergency Management Services (EMS) has noted with concern the number of drowning incidents which occur during summer. According to EMS spokesperson Robert Mulaudzi, this year, the Johannesburg EMS is working towards an incident-free summer.
On October 29, the member of the Mayoral Committee for Public Safety, councillor Michael Sun visited the Extension Four Swimming Pool to launch the ‘Learn how to swim, drowning is preventable’ campaign.
Eldorado Park ward councillors Peter Rafferty and Fazel Jaffer were in attendance and said the campaign was necessary because drownings in the area happen more than they should.
Jaffer said, “A few months ago we had an incident where a toddler fell into the stream in Kliptown. He drowned and his body was recovered a few days later which was a tragic and traumatic ordeal for the family.”
Sun agreed and said that statistics indicate that a large number of drowning incidents happen in our own homes and children under the age of five years old are susceptible to becoming drowning victims.
He said, “It is imperative that parents supervise their children at all times while swimming, even if they have received professional lessons. Drowning can happen in a split second but it is preventable.”
EMS has partnered with Community Development, Swimming South Africa and primary schools in and around the City of Johannesburg to roll out the ‘Learn how to swim’ campaign.
Mulaudzi said, “The collaboration is premised on a strategic goal to increase the accessibility of public swimming pools to the community and to ensure that our children are empowered with a swimming skill and also measures to take during flooding incidents.”
“These facilities are an embodiment of the city’s commitment to building safe communities and therefore a safer city.”
The City of Johannesburg’s EMS has recorded and responded to 93 water-related incidents, drowning and near-drowning incidents between January to October 2018, within the City of Johannesburg, compared to 80 recorded around the same period in 2017.
“Even though we have seen a reduction in terms of the numbers of drownings and water-related incidents, we cannot celebrate until we achieve an incident-free summer season,” said Mulaudzi.
“We still attended to a number of incidents involving young children throughout the City of Johannesburg and our main focus is targeted at young school children to empower them with the necessary skills in order not only to prevent drowning, incidents but also to be able to conduct themselves around swimming pools,” he added.
Children who have been attending swimming classes at the extension Four pool showed off their swimming skills.
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