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Lifeguard training and nearby aids ‘should be mandatory’

DUBAI // Experts want compulsory training for all pool attendants and lifesaving aids to be accessible at all community and hotel swimming pools.

British swimming teacher Chris Kelly, a consultant working in schools across Dubai, said first-aid training and lifesaving skills for nannies would also ­improve safety. “In most pools, the doors are not often locked and they can be accessed easily. That in itself is a red flag,” Mr Kelly said.

“There should be regular training for all lifeguards and a national qualification. Lifeguards should be in an elevated position so they can see the bottom of the pool at all times.

“A pool-related death could do irreparable damage to a hotel. As soon as you have to think about liability and blame, it is too late. Pool-monitoring needs to be a lot more efficient.”

Mr Kelly said pools should always have rescue rings and a throwing aid for public use in unsupervised areas.

Major developers in Dubai said staff were well trained and that safety was a priority.

“All our lifeguards and pool attendants are trained professionals, and are also given prior training before they commence work at our swimming pools,” said a spokesman for Emaar, which has scores of community pools at The Springs and Meadows communities, and across Dubai.

“The team works on break shifts, each working a maximum of nine hours a day with appropriate breaks.

“All our lifeguards rotate their shift every 15 days and are moved across different pools every month.”

Developer Nakheel has a similar policy for staff training.

“Swimming pools are manned by at least one lifeguard at all times during opening hours, which vary between communities,” a spokeswoman said.

“We operate a duty rotation system, with meal breaks at regular intervals.

“Training covering swimming, rescue skills and CPR is carried out every three months. Lifeguards must also pass an annual refresher course.”

Remraam, a residential area off Hessa Street near Golf City, has two large pools with two more being built.

The development, managed by Dubai Properties, has three lifeguards monitoring each pool area, with one high chair and several rescue aids at the poolside. “Yes, the pool can get very busy but we are trained well and prepared for an emergency,” said a lifeguard on duty there.

“The gates are locked after the lifeguards have left, so the pool cannot be accessed if there is no one on duty.”

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