Saudi female lifeguard on mission to cut drowning incidents in KSA – Arab News
MAKKAH: A Saudi swimming instructor and lifeguard has taken the plunge with a personal mission to help cut the number of drowning incidents in the Kingdom.
Nawal Al-Atwi not only aims to raise awareness about water safety but also wants to encourage more women in the country to become qualified rescuers.
With the backing of the Saudi Life Saving Federation, she assists in preparing women for life-saving courses being conducted throughout the Kingdom including in Riyadh, Dammam, and Tabuk.
On successful completion of the course, participants become certified lifeguards for two years after which time they must undertake a fitness test.
Al-Atwi, who lives and works within Tabuk, has made it her mission to educate people about potential water dangers and the importance of learning water rescue skills.
She said: “I had heard tragic stories of men, women, and children in my area dying in drowning occurrences, and it saddened me a lot. Learning water rescue is very important, and I want to teach as many people as possible.
“We seek to advocate and educate to decrease the number of drownings. ”
The federation is now running specialized courses and technical training in water rescue with regard to Saudi women.
“These courses, given to qualified Saudi girls, are the beginning of organizing specialized technical courses in various regions of the Kingdom.
“I learned to swim as a child in the sea. The Red Sea was a great school — it has shaped my identity in the field of swimming and rescue, ” she added.
Al-Atwi was around 10 years old when she rescued a man from drowning. “The incident marked me and helped me not to fear water, no matter how deep it was. ”
She was a volunteer lifeguard for three years before becoming a certified lifeguard with the federation in the Tabuk region.
She stated: “I aim to put all my efforts into reducing situations of drowning, while educating people about potential drinking water dangers.
“I am now a lifeguard. It is not as easy as many people think. Water rescue can be a very dangerous operation that requires tremendous skills.
“Rescuing is about learning how to assess the severity of a situation, how to handle people who are irritated, quiet, or have fractures. It is also a religious duty, as stipulated in the Qur’anic verse, ‘saving one life is saving humanity. ’”
Lifeguards learn how to save people from not only swimming pools and the sea, but rivers, flood areas, and other water environments too, and also receive training in emergency first aid.
Al-Atwi said there was a high demand for drinking water rescue training throughout Saudi Arabia and that the country’s civil defense and other organizations constantly pushed the safety message.
The particular meteorology and environmental protection authorities also issued rain and flood alerts. “But many people, unfortunately, still risk going to places where it may not be safe to be, ” she added.