Lagos moves to halt drowning in swimming pools, hotels, others


L- R CEO, Occupational and Safety Management Mr. Ehi Iden,MD/CEO Strap and Safe Child Foundation, Mrs. Bolanle Edwards, MD Laswa, Mr. Damilola Emmanuel, DG Safety Commission, Mr. Lanre Mojola, Technical Adviser Safety Commission, Mr. Lanre Mojola, rep. of PS Ministry of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Relations, Dr. (Mrs) Bukola Ayinla, MD/ CEO Simply Exponential Consult Limited, Mrs. Fayo Williams at the Prevention of Drowning sensitization in Lagos.

The Lagos State Government on Tuesday began training of swimming pool operators, life guards and hotel owners in the state.

The move is to prevent drowning in these places.

Speaking at a one-day sensitisation programme for stakeholders in Ikeja, the Director-General, Lagos State Safety Commission, Lanre Mojola, said the training would teach life guards and swimming pool operators how to reduce swimming fatalities.

Mojola said drowning is one of the foremost causes of death worldwide among children and young people aged 1-24 years.

“It is estimated that about 236,000 people drown across the globe yearly and this can be drastically reduced if adequate safe practices are put in place.

“Here in Lagos, the incidences of drowning appears to be heading north and there is an urgent need to nip this trend in the bud.

“In June, 2022, three children (siblings) lost their lives as a result of drowning in a swimming pool located somewhere at Ajah.

“In August alone, four college students reportedly died at the Elegushi Beach on Tuesday 16th August, while another drowning incident was reported at Alpha Beach on Tuesday 23rd August 2022,” he lamented.

He explained that in response to the growing number of drowning incidents, the Commission developed the Swimming Pool Safety Regulations, which was passed by the Lagos State House of Assembly last year.

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Mojola said the regulation would standardize the construction, upgrade and operations of swimming pools in Lagos.

“This session will afford us the opportunity to dissect the Regs which covers topics such as swimming pool rules, use of signage, cleaning and treatment, restriction of drug and alcohol use around pools, lifeguards, reporting etc.

“We will continue to carry out our 4 Es around the use of swimming pools in the State as we promote the development of safe rescue and resuscitation in cases of emergencies,” he stated.

According to him, this programme is an opportunity for the Commission to interface with stakeholders and focus on the issues as regards drowning and proffer solutions on how to keep our pools safe.

“We are always open to new ideas and suggestions that will ensure that incidents of drowning is brought to their barest minimum. Our goal is accomplishing our target of zero drowning in the State with our support,” he added.

The Founder of Strap and Safe Child Foundation, Mrs Bolanle Edwards, highlighted the reasons for drowning to include absence of pool barriers and non-supervision.

“Some of the reasons for drowning include absence of barriers around the pool, lack of supervision, failure to wear life jackets and low sensitisation of the public about drowning and its prevention.

“There should be a four-sided fence separating the pool area from the house and hard because this has been found to reduce drowning by 83% and there should be supervision of swimming pools. Swimmers should learn basic swimming and water safety skills,” she said.

The Chief Executive Officer, Occupational Health and Safety Management, Mr Ehi Iden, said, “Swimming pool operators should ensure that every part of the pool is marked to indicate its depth. There’s is also a need to look out for pool drain as this can trap women’s hair or do bodily damage to children.”

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