Plans to combat public pool drownings are now underway thanks to a motivated former swim instructor.
Plans to combat public pool drownings are now underway thanks to a motivated former swim instructor.

How countless drownings could soon be prevented

A MOVE to help reduce the number of drownings at public aquatic facilities across Australia looks to be one step closer to one day becoming reality.

Former swim instructor and CQUniversity student Patricia English has put to use her 17 years of experience to better research the management of pre-existing medical conditions in relation to water safety.

“I have been swimming training since I was five years old and like most Australians love the water which inspired me to become involved in aquatic risk management research.”

Through the research she hopes to ultimately minimise both fatal and non-fatal drownings across both Central Queensland and the entire country.

The scene of a near drowning at Rochedale last year.
The scene of a near drowning at Rochedale last year.

The motivation, Ms English revealed, stemmed from a lack of sufficient research surrounding felt risk mitigation considering the wide variety of patrons who frequent aquatic centres.

“Drowning is a continued risk, particularly in Australia with our water-based culture.

“Those with pre-existing medical conditions have an even greater risk of drowning,” she explained.

Only late last year, a nine-year-old boy died following a tragic drowning at a public pool in the NSW Riverina region.

Ms English revealed two components would make up the investigation in a bid to provide complete insight into both aquatic facility staff and its users – done so through two differing surveys.

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Trish English hopes to put an end to drownings in public aquatic centres.
Trish English hopes to put an end to drownings in public aquatic centres.

“These may give different viewpoints of what is considered risky in an aquatic facility and what we can implement to decrease this.”

“There will hopefully be numerous groups that benefit from this research. Most people, at some point in their life, visit a public aquatic facility – even just to cool down on a hot day.”

These findings, she said, will better assist her in identifying current areas which require either improvement or further risk management strategies.

“We expect to find several risks which may differ between staff and user.”

“One outcome could look at the implementation of pre-screening and find methods to decrease the risk for people/staff with pre-existing conditions.”

Ms English believes that with fewer on-site risks involved then a safer environment for staff and patrons will develop as result.