Vancouver played host to the 2017 World Conference on Drowning Prevention, bringing 800 delegates from 60 countries together to exchange ideas on reducing death and injury in aquatic environments with the theme: Share Globally, Prevent Locally.
The conference is the International Life Saving Federation’s premier education event, showcasing the important work conducted around the globe by individuals and organisations.
A contingent from LSV travelled to the conference to hold workshops, give presentations and network with the global aquatic industry. They took with them James Carew, a lifesaver from Lorne Surf Life Saving Club who had the opportunity to attend as part of an LSV development scholarship.
‘The conference was a fantastic opportunity to learn about emerging practises, techniques and initiatives, as well as network with leaders and speakers,” said James. “I attended several medical presentations, which were research-based and several rescue presentations, which focused mainly on practises used locally.”
“One of the most interesting technology developments was the emergence of real-time feedback on the quality of CPR being performed on training manikins,” said James. “These are a relatively cheap addition to existing manikins and unpublished UK research supports improved CPR in the cardiac arrest patient.”
There were over 200 oral presentations covering prevention, rescue, swimming, data, medical, partnership, global drowning and disaster. These sessions showcased practises, innovation and research conducted locally, regionally or nationally to a global audience.
The LSV delegation attended most concurrent sessions, including giving four oral presentations and supplying two posters.
“Each morning began with keynote speakers, including the ILS President Mr Graham Ford, representatives from the World Health Organisation, Médecins Sans Frontiers (Doctors without Boarders), Bloomberg Philanthropies and a number of other guests,” said James.
Each presenter also challenged delegates to collectively think about how to tackle drowning, which ranks as the third leading cause of death globally for those aged 5-14.
“I’d encourage any lifesaving club member, lifesaver or lifeguard interested in aquatic prevention in any form to pursue any opportunity like this presented at a local and state level,” said James. “These will form the stepping stones toward a future career. The conference was a great reminder that wherever we are based, we’re all working towards the same goal – to save lives from these, ultimately preventable, drowning deaths.”