The recent tragedy at McLaren Falls underlines how important it is that everyone plays their part in achieving fewer drownings in New Zealand, and the relaying of consistent messaging in the media is a great starting point.
The 4Rs - Recognise, Respond, Rescue and Revive – are four simple words that if actioned could help both would-be rescuer and the victim, if only more people knew and understood them.
Concerned at further loss of life as a result of another failed bystander rescue, water safety experts are requesting New Zealand’s press to help reinforce that New Zealanders need to understand the dangers of over estimating ability and under estimating risk.
Men, in particular, have been shown to be at greater risk of drowning because of their confidence, rather than competence, in being able to perform a rescue or get themselves out of trouble without assistance.
Internationally recognised drowning prevention expert and WAI WaterSafe Auckland Board Member Dr Kevin Moran encourages practice of the 4Rs, and is currently conducting a study involving bystander safety education that focuses on “ways to keep yourself safe while helping others”.
In the past 35 years, 88 people have drowned in New Zealand attempting to rescue others. In many cases the victim survived while the rescuer drowned.
Recognising that Kiwis will continue to instinctively attempt to rescue others in spite of international advice that generally recommends not entering the water, WaterSafe Auckland is keen that people, and men in particular, take time to assess the risks and their own levels of competency before attempting to perform a rescue or to avoid getting in to trouble themselves.
“We urge all would-be rescuers to consider the 4Rs and ask the Press to reinforce this message,” says Dr Moran.
For more information or interviews contact.
Dr Kevin Moran ONZM
The 4Rs was developed by Dr Kevin Moran ONZM, Jonathon Webber and Teresa Stanley in their respective roles within WaterSafe Auckland. Watch the video
Moran, K., & Stanley, T. (2013). Readiness to Rescue: Bystander Perceptions of Their Capacity to Respond in a Drowning Emergency. International Journal of Aquatic Research and Education, 7(4), 290-300. http://bit.ly/1T2fq10