Newman community learns basic water safety skills

5 June 2019

Royal Life Saving WA's Pilbara Development Officer Jacqui Forbes recently travelled to Newman to deliver a series of education sessions for the local community. Newman is a mining town about 1200 kilometres north of Perth, which has long been home to the Aboriginal Martu people. Unfortunately due to its remoteness and a severe shortage of qualified swim instructors in the region the children in this town often miss out on having regular in-term swimming and water safety education available to them.

Research has found that Australian Aboriginal children aged 0-14 are three times more likely to drown than other Australian children in this age group, while overall people are 3.7 times more likely to drown in regional WA than the Perth metropolitan area. Limited water safety awareness and very low participation levels in swimming and water safety programs are major factors in these statistics, so Royal Life Saving WA is working to deliver programs and encourage participation in remote communities.

As part of our Swim and Survive Access and Equity program - which is supported by BHP - the recent education sessions saw children from South Newman and Newman Primary Schools take part in water safety skills awareness classes. The classes are designed to ensure the children have a basic understanding of water safety issues and how to keep themselves and their friends safe when recreating around water.

The adults in the community didn't miss out, also having an opportunity to take part in a Heart Beat Club first and CPR class. The Heart Beat Club is a community education iniative of Royal Life Saving WA which covers first aid for common child injuries including burns and scalds, choking, drowning and provides information on how to perform child resuscitation or CPR.

If you'd like to know more about the work Royal Life Saving WA does to share swimming and water safety education with communities in regional Western Australia please click the link below.

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