October 22 2014 Latest news:
Friday, October 12, 2012
A Norfolk lifeguard has jetted to an Asian drowning hotspot to pass on tips that could save hundreds of lives.
Scott Davidson is in Bangladesh to deliver a three-week training course to local lifeguards who face challenges on a different level to those in the UK.
Drowning is the leading killer of children in the country, claiming 18,000 lives per year.
Mr Davidson, who has been joined by fellow RNLI trainer Darren Williams and three RNLI lifeboat trainers, was a beach lifeguard with North Norfolk District Council when the RNLI took over the running of the service in 2006.
In 2008 he became a senior lifeguard and in 2009 was appointed training senior for the area. Last year he was appointed one of three UK assessor trainers, with responsibility for the East and North-East.
He will lead the team that is teaching essential lifesaving skills to Bangladeshi lifeguards and Bangladesh coastguard officers.
Mr Davidson and Mr Williams were in Bangladesh earlier this year, when they trained 15 volunteer lifeguards at one of the country’s busiest beaches. Those lifeguards are now running a beach patrol and are already saving lives.
This time they will train 20 more Bangladeshi lifeguards using a training manual developed by the charity specifically for use in low- and middle-income countries, where specialist equipment and facilities are not available.
They will also teach the Bangladeshi lifeguards how to deliver coastal safety education talks in schools.
Steve Wills, the RNLI’s international development manager, said: “The Bangladeshi lifeguards and coastguard have the right foundations in place but we’re working with them to improve their capabilities, equipping them with the right understanding and ability to run effective lifesaving services and, most importantly, ensuring they can sustain their own lifesaving services into the future.”
After his first trip, in March, Mr Davidson said: “They took to the training very well. They were all really keen surfers, their knowledge of the sea was good and their fitness levels were high. But they lacked general lifeguarding skills and they really benefitted from the technique training we were able to give them.”