Shortage of safety gear makes lifeguards’ job a risky affair

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Shortage of safety gear makes lifeguards’ job a risky affair

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On November 11, HB colony in the city 10 youngsters were cleaned away by strong waves at Yarada Beach. Guards and locals tried to rescue them, they could save only four members, the others were rest drowned.

The incident brings to the fore an appropriate question that whether or not the lifeguards posted at the Yarada beach have sufficient equipment to save the drowning cases. Well, the explanation appears to be ‘no’.

The community guards all they have is a few ropes to be used in emergency locations, guards do not even have sufficient life jackets and lifebuoys or other equipment. All we need to do is just swim, search and bring the drowning victims to ashore without any safety gear,” expressed Ch Ashok, a community guard posted at Yarada beach.

Photo Source: The Hindu

‘No shelter’

“We do not even have at least shelter or at a hut on the beach., we need to stay under the sun throughout the day,” says Mr Ashok.

In 2011, a community guard died while discharging his duty at the Yarada beach and the guards say that they are not provided with adequate equipment, even after the incident.

Not just Yarada beach, the condition of the community guards posted at Rama Krishna Beach (RK Beach) is no different. “We have only three lifebuoys. Many a time, we have sought life jackets and rescue tubes that can bear a load of around 100 kg. But there has been no response,” says Vasupalli Devudu, a community guard posted at RK Beach.

when compared to other beaches in the city RK Beach is busiest tourist place in the city. Keeping this in view, about 18 guards have been posted at RK Beach who work in two shifts.

“As the drowning incidents are on the rise, it is better to have speedboats or water scooters which can speed up search operations. Speedboats can reduce drownings deaths by more than 50%,” opines Mr Devudu. In total, 27 community guards work in three major beaches —RK Beach, Yarada and Rushikonda. The local beaches attract more than 10 lakh tourists every year.

480 deaths in 10 years

In the last one decade, about 460 drowning cases claiming 480 lives have been recorded from the city beaches. Around 30 deaths have been reported this year so far when compared to 39 last year.

“We undertake rescue works, risking our lives, but we do not have insurance cover. Sometimes, salary does not come in time. The authorities concerned have never bothered for our safety,” allege the community guards.

Panel mooted

Meanwhile, Collector Pravin Kumar has said that they are constituting a district-level committee comprising the officials of police, revenue, GVMC, tourism, fisheries and few other departments. “The committee will come up with recommendations to keep the drowning deaths at bay. Then, we will initiate further measures in that direction,” he adds.

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