Owing to rising incidents of drowning, especially of youths and children, the Bihar State Disaster Management Authority (BSDMA) would soon launch a programme to train the students of private and government schools.
The BSDMA is following the model of Bangladesh to train the students. In the neighbouring country, the Centre for Injury Prevention and Research has launched the SwimSafe programme, as a child dies from drowning every 31 minutes in Bangladesh.
The BSDMA would also the name its swimming training programme as SwimSafe, but it would tweak it to suit the local conditions.
Out of 38 districts in Bihar, the BSDMA has identified 29 districts that are located beside rivers. The drowning incidents are maximum in these districts. “Lives of people in these districts revolve around water, yet many of them lack the basic skill of swimming,” said a BSDMA official.
Surprisingly, the Disaster Management Department (DMD), that pays compensation to the next of kin of drowning victims, does not have compilation of number of people who meet watery graves out of freak accidents every year in the state. A DMD official said data of drowning victims, who die in freak accidents, would be compiled soon.
The BSDMA would, in a ‘cascading model’, target the school students in the age group of 6-18 years to train them in a safe environment. The disaster management authority would hire trainers who would train the school students. The students would be provided safety kits and medical arrangements would be made to meet any medical exigency. The trained students would be groomed as master trainers, who would pass their swimming skills down the ladder.
Though the education department is yet to give its nod to the training programme, but a draft programme has been made.
“On a pilot basis, the SwimSafe programme would be launched in Baldeva High School, Danapur. After its success, the programme would be started in schools that are located beside rivers and ponds,” said Vyasji, vice-chairman, BSDMA.
Elaborating the SwimSafe programme, Vyasji said the local ponds of rivers would be cordoned off using bamboos. “The whole process would be inexpensive and it would look like a swimming pool, creating an artificial water depth, which will give students the confidence to swim.”
Vyasji added that the trained students would become ambassadors of water safety and they would pass their swimming skills and adoption of other safety methods to their friends and family.
Jul 29, 2019 12:30 IST