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Quality life-saving services provided at LCSD's pools and beaches

Swimmers at the Leisure and Cultural Services Department's (LCSD) swimming pools and beaches can be assured of the quality of services provided.

Making swimmer safety its first priority, the LCSD ensured that quality lifeguard services were provided at all LCSD aquatic venues, said Mr Luk Chin-yan, Senior Leisure Manager with the department.

Mr Luk pointed out that regarding the seasonal requirement for lifeguards, the department took into account sizes of the swimming pools, their designs, facilities, water depths as well as attendance rates and made reference to overseas practices.

He said that popular pools with high user rates, such as the one at Kowloon Park, had 27 lifeguards on each shift during the high season.

"We are conscious that in exercising economy while upholding safety standards, the deployment plans will meet the actual needs of each swimming pool," Mr Luk said.

To ensure the expertise of lifeguards is put to best use, services not requiring life-saving skills are handled by other staff. For example, non-lifeguards can maintain order in the queues for water slides while lifeguards are stationed at strategic locations for life-saving duties.

Also, lifeguard redeployment has been made following the completion of improvement works at some pool areas.

"On Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays, honorary lifeguards from the Hong Kong Life Saving Society are invited to provide supplementary services at some popular swimming pools and beaches," he added.

On the quality of the LCSD lifeguards, Mr Luk pointed out that since January 2003, the department's lifeguard qualifications had been upgraded to the level recognised by the International Life Saving Federation.

"To keep abreast of life-saving standards, lifeguards are required to take part in regular drills and in-service training programmes," he said.

In order to train more people to become lifeguards, the department recruits interns and provides training courses and on-the-job training. So far, eight have completed all the courses, passed the technical examination and are now working as lifeguards at LCSD pools.

Mr Chu Hing-cheung, who now works as a lifeguard in Morse Park Swimming Pool, said that in the half-year internship, he had increased his life-saving skills and gained a better understanding of the operation of a swimming pool. "These are very useful to prepare for my career as a lifeguard."

Mr Chu recalled a near-accident during his two months' work there: "One day when I was on duty, I spotted three children losing strength and unable to swim back to the poolside. I used my life-saving skills and successfully prevented an accident.

"As professional lifeguards, we must be responsible and always be on alert," he said.

Ends/Thursday, June 24, 2004
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