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Back come Phuket's lifeguards, stacking skis at beaches in rain today

Phuket Regains Lifeguards, Beaches Protected After Seven Weeks

Sunday, May 27, 2012
PHUKET: Lifeguards were stacking rescue surf skis around Phuket's west coast beaches today ready to return to regular daily patrols from Monday.

It will have been seven weeks and two days since they left Phuket's beaches unguarded when the annual contract expired. For a destination that prides itself on being a year-round beach destination, that's too long.

It happened last year, too. Swim safety expert David Field, who comes to Phuket to train lifeguards each year, hopes it won't happen again - and that better lifesaving equipment is on the way.

''Perhaps Phuketwan could suggest to Phuket Provincial Administrative organisation that contracts, if they must be renewed and tendered annually, are done during the high season and not leave beaches unguarded during the low season,'' he said.

Today's big sea is actually less dangerous than calmer days, Kata-Karon head lifeguard Uten Singsorn said in between stacking skis. From tomorrow, 106 lifeguards will be back on 13 beaches.

''There are a couple of fixed rips at Karon beach that make it more dangerous than most Phuket beaches,'' he said. ''These danger stretches are there all year long.

''We will be red-flagging them the minute we get back tomorrow.'' The rips are not properly red-flagged when lifeguards are not on duty. They should be.

Large warning signs are being prepared for the beachfronts of Kata-Karon, warning swimmers of the dangers, in seven languages. But it has been suggested that resorts really need to warn all arriving guests when they check in during the monsoon season between April and October, the most dangerous time of the year.

Coupled with the now-widely understood need to alert all new arrivals on Phuket that they are entering a tsunami and earthquake zone, a warning about beach safety could also be part of a video to be screened on every flight as it descends to Phuket.

Before tourists even set foot on Phuket would be the best place to deliver life-saving warnings.

Khun Uten says tourists sometimes quickly develop a sense that they are better swimmers than they really are. His advice: ''Don't kid yourself. Make sure you swim safely between the yellow and red flags.''

A review of the equipment the lifeguards need will take place between now and October when the administrative organisation will have a new budget. High on the wish-list should be a fleet of jet-skis with trailing sleds.

This is considered to be the fastest and most effective way to rescue swimmers in trouble, and the least risky for lifeguards, too.

The time between a person getting into trouble and having top-quality resuscitsation administered is usually critical in saving a life.

David Field was pleased to see the administrative organisation recently rented 12 new ambulances for use on Phuket. He had a suggestion:

''While new ambulances are a good contribution to safety and emergency response on Phuket, they also need to be properly equipped with defibrillation gear and suitably trained Emergency Management Technicians (EMT) Paramedics, otherwise these vehicles will be simply a 'call and haul' service.

''The lack of defib equipment and its use restricted to doctors only in Thailand is really holding the effectiveness of first responders back.

''The Chain of Survival is a world standard involving "Early access to Patient, Early CPR, Early advanced life support - and is a critical principle in improving a patient's survival in what's called the 'golden hour,' that period immediately after a trauma when intervention needs to be timely and effective.

''Drownings are a particular trauma where intervention needs to include early CPR and defib. In Phuket the survivability of people dragged unconscious from the water would be improved if early defib could be provided by lifeguards or paramedics.

''Unfortunately the lack of defibs outside hospitals means patients have their chain of survival compromised, often with fatal consequences.

''Australian children, for example, are routinely trained in the use of AEDs through Surf Life Saving and First Aid training from the age of 15.

''One less ambulance to the Phuket fleet but the supply of 15 AED (Automatic External Defibrillation) units would probably save more lives.''

Comments

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very positive to read, still some scope to bring it up to international standard but evolution takes time phuket has advanced light years from the days of the life guard asleep in the guard tower.
well done Phuket

Posted by traveller on May 28, 2012 06:28

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Good news all round. I've watched these guys at work and they do a damn good job.

Posted by Graham on May 28, 2012 14:26


Tuesday September 21, 2021
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa

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