Fingal Independent - - NEWS - John MAN­NING

LIFE­GUARDS across Fin­gal’s many beaches re­sponded to a stag­ger­ing 4,800 in­di­vid­ual in­ci­dents over the sum­mer months in their bid to keep Fin­gal’s beaches safe.

The sum­mer of 2017 saw an in­crease in ac­ci­dents pre­vented across Fin­gal’s beaches thanks to the vig­i­lance and ex­pe­ri­ence of life­guards em­ployed by Fin­gal County Coun­cil.

Ac­cord­ing to this year’s an­nual Re­view of Life­guard Ser­vice on Fin­gal’s 11 beaches, there were 4,800 in­di­vid­ual in­ci­dents dealt with by the 35 life­guards sta­tioned across Fin­gal over the sum­mer pe­riod.

None of th­ese in­ci­dents re­sulted in ma­jor in­juries or in­ci­dents in­volv­ing the pub­lic, thanks to the work of the life­guards.

That larger num­ber in­cluded ev­ery kind of in­ci­dent the life­guard is called to deal with but in terms of ac­tual ac­ci­dent pre­ven­tion by life­guards on our beaches, the fig­ures are equally im­pres­sive.

In 2016, 404 ac­ci­dents were pre­vented by on duty life­guards and this year’s re­port found that this fig­ure in­creased to 414.

Fin­gal County Coun­cil’s Wa­ter Safety De­vel­op­ment Of­fi­cer John Hart­nett cred­ited the in­crease in ac­ci­dent pre­ven­tion to the on-duty life­guards’ ex­pe­ri­ence and train­ing.

Mr Hart­nett said: ‘Our life­guards are ex­tremely vig­i­lant and have gath­ered enough knowl­edge through yearly train­ing and past ex­pe­ri­ence to pre-empt po­ten­tial ac­ci­dents and pre­vent them.

‘As was the case in pre­vi­ous years, this sum­mer we were able to pro­vide life­guards with de­fib­ril­la­tor train­ing and work­shops with the Royal Na­tional Life­sav­ing In­sti­tute and Dublin Fire Brigade, pro­vid­ing them with the es­sen­tial skill-set to pre­vent wa­ter re­lated in­juries.’

Fur­ther train­ing in­cluded res­cue boat train­ing and an eight-week fit­ness pro­gramme to en­sure each life­guard was able to meet the phys­i­cal re­quire­ments of their job.

Be­fore be­ing em­ployed as a life­guard, can­di­dates must com­plete a pool fit­ness test con­ducted by the Dublin Area Com­mit­tee of Ir­ish Wa­ter Safety.

The re­port also high­lights a grow­ing is­sue around re­cruit­ment as ap­pli­ca­tions for life­guard po­si­tions are in de­cline which has forced Fin­gal County Coun­cil to share ap­pli­cants with the other Dublin and East­ern Lo­cal Au­thor­i­ties.

‘It is an is­sue and one that we will be look­ing at over the win­ter with our col­leagues in the other lo­cal au­thor­i­ties as our 2017 re­port has clearly shown that our beaches need to have life­guards on duty dur­ing the sum­mer pe­riod,’ said Mr Hart­nett.

Fin­gal County Coun­cil will hope to have that re­cruit­ment is­sue dealt with in time for the sum­mer sea­son, next year when life­guards are likely to be just as busy on Fin­gal’s beaches, sav­ing lives and pre­vent­ing ac­ci­dents and keep­ing our beaches safe for ev­ery­one.

Fin­gal’s life­guards to­gether on Port­marnock beach

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