Royal Life Saving receives state funding for drowning prevention programs

27 August 2019

Royal Life Saving WA is among three community organisations to be awarded contracts by the State Government’s Department of Health, to continue programs over the next five years aimed at reducing avoidable injuries in the community.

The McGowan Government has committed $24 million towards initiatives targeting the incidence of falls, drownings and childhood injury across Western Australia, with Royal Life Saving WA receiving funding for its water safety program which aims to reduce the number of drownings in our state.

The other organisations receiving funding include Kidsafe WA for its child safety program and Injury Matters for its programs to reduce fall related injuries among older Western Australians and general programming to reduce injuries across the wider community.

Health Minister Roger Cook says the funding is extremely important. "Many injuries are preventable, yet they remain a major public health issue and a significant cause of mortality, morbidity and cost to the health system and the WA community. The McGowan Government is committed to the ongoing support of initiatives and NGOs who help reduce preventable health problems for Western Australians and relieve the pressure on our public health system.”

In the 2017-18 financial year there were 26 drowning deaths, 112 hospital admissions and 95 emergency department presentations related to drowning in Western Australia. Royal Life Saving WA Senior Manager Health promotion and Research Lauren Nimmo says the funding from the State Government is vital as the organisation works to reduce these statistics.

“Our work in the community focuses on a number of target groups. We work with parents and carers who have children under five years of age to increase their knowledge and skills regarding toddler drowning prevention including key messages of supervision, restricting access to water, water familiarisation and CPR. Our work with young adults aged 15-24 years aims to increase their awareness about the risks associated with consuming alcohol and other drugs in and around water. For adults over 45 years we are working to increase their lifesaving and swimming skills, and their knowledge of drowning risk factors for their age group including the influence of medications and medical conditions.”

Royal Life Saving WA looks forward to continuing to work in partnership with the Department of Health to raise awareness, and reduce the burden of drowning related injury on the WA community and health system.