Aquatic recreation is intrinsic to Australia culture. Whether it be a trip to the local pool, river, lake, or coastline to undertake a range of activities such as swimming, fishing, boating, or, simply for solace – Australian’s typically love the water.
Exposure to these aquatic environments, however, comes with certain risks and responsibilities. Each year in NSW 100 people tragically lose their life to drowning, most of which are preventable. Every drowning death represents a tragic loss to a whole community.
Royal Life Saving NSW (RLSNSW) has been working closely with Seven Hills RSL for many years now in an attempt to save lives in the Blacktown community and surrounding areas. Over the last financial year alone, Seven Hills RSL has funded four major projects of RLSNSW, which has seen more than 3,200 young people in the Blacktown and Seven Hills local area learn vital water safety or lifesaving skills.
An overview view of the 2017/18 funded projects are below:
Preschool Water Safety Project $8,320
Royal Life Saving NSW Preschool Water Safety Project has been developed in response to the unacceptably high number of children under the age of 5 losing their life to drowning in preventable circumstances. With backyard swimming pools being the leading location for drowning of young children, this initiative specifically aims to educate children (aged 3-5) about the dangers associated with backyard swimming pools and enhance a child’s ability to keep themselves safe. The program also briefly discusses beach safety. A 30 minute interactive water safety presentation has – or will be – conducted at 15 pre-school centres in the Blacktown and Seven Hills area, reaching almost 500 children and their families.
Water Smart Kindy Kids $9,900
An interactive, educational program designed to teach students aged 5-6 vital water safety information and skills in order to increase awareness of the dangers associated with familiar aquatic environments; promote safe behaviour and enhance students ability to deal with a basic emergency situation. Presentations have been conducted at 15 primary schools in the Blacktown and Seven Hills area engaging 1,700 kindergarten students.
Water Safety Project – Primary $9,800
Rivers are the leading location for drowning in Australia. This initiative aims to teach stage 3 students about the dangers associated with various inland waterways (rivers, creeks, lakes, dams, etc.) and equip students with basic survival and rescue skills. A one hour interactive presentation has been delivered at 9 participating primary schools, for all of year 5 and 6.
Youth Life Saver Project $19,420
As part of this initiative, 200 year 11 students in the Blacktown and Seven Hills local area will have the opportunity to undertake their First Aid and CPR training for free. The aim of this initiative is to equip students with the skills and confidence to be able to respond in a basic emergency situation. Competent students will receive nationally recognised qualifications as well as the honour of becoming a skilled ‘community lifesaver’. This initiative is important for this age group, who are our next generation of drivers and school leavers.