The research, development and implementation of UK national guidelines and specifications for coastal public rescue equipment

TitleThe research, development and implementation of UK national guidelines and specifications for coastal public rescue equipment
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsWills, S, Dawes, P
Conference NameWorld Conference on Drowning Prevention
Date Published09/2007
PublisherInternational Life Saving Federation
Conference LocationPorto, Portugal
Other Numbers02-11
Abstract

­In the UK someone is rescued at a beach every 90 minutes1.  Using the drowning chain model, the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) are preventing drownings and water related accidents by breaking each link in the chain. Priority should always be given to breaking the drowning chain early, through education, information and supervision.  However, if appropriate control measures are not in place or fail to break the early links, the last, and only link left to break are people’s inability to cope and lack of effective public rescue equipment (PRE).

Currently there are no standards in the UK to assist coastal managers when determining and managing their PRE requirements.  Much of the equipment found in the UK is not fit for purpose and in some cases has contributed to further drownings.  This is why the RNLI, in consultation with other key water related bodies have produced the world’s first coastal managers user guide for public rescue equipment.

Working with two UK universities, a robust testing methodology was developed and implemented with trials undertaken in a survival tank and at various coastal environments.  Over 500 public trials took place to identify the most effective PRE equipment.  Research was also conducted on the following aspects of PRE: emergency communications, most suitable PRE locations, maintenance solutions, auditing tools and frequency of checks, PRE signage, user instruction information and ways to reduce vandalism & theft.

The 50-page Guide to Coastal Public Rescue Equipment was launched in the UK in June 2007.  Copies were distributed to all UK coastal managers and private beach owners.

Learning Outcomes
  1. To understand the need for effective PRE around the world to reduce drownings.
  2. To learn the PRE testing methodology and research/trials undertaken.
  3. To understand what the UK has implemented to reduce drownings through effective PRE use.