Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Who Do You Save - Your Wife or Your Mother?

Recent news about the coroner's inquiry into the Singapore River Drowning. This is about the Security Guard, Saran Saunthara Pandian, 19, a Malaysian, who drowned trying to save a lady, Nur Iffah Osman, 24, a Singaporean, who fell into the river after losing her balance. Saran jumped in to save her but got drowned. The lady survived after being saved by a friend who stretched out his hand to pulled her back to safety. Saran's act was courageous but his death was needless....so sad, he was only 19.

Why he does what he did?
- He was a security guard, trained to protect properties, not life (not a trained lifeguard).
- He was a poor swimmer.
- Even if he was a good swimmer, he was probably not trained how to approach and tow a drowning victim back to safety. A drowning victim is a desperate person. He or She would grab anything that float in the water and cling on to it like a leech.

A trained lifeguard would take the following action:
- His personal safety comes first - that's why the term "Safety First"
- Shout for help & get others to assist - joint effort is better than single effort.
- Adopt the "Reach & Throw" procedure - this means finding any life saving aids such as lifebuoy, pole, robe and try to reach or throw to the victim.
- When no such aids are available, then improvise by using belt or shirt/pants etc to reach out to the victim.
- If the victim is not reachable and no other options available, then attempt to get in the water if you are fully confident of approaching and tackling the victim.

I have personally gone through the lifesaving and lifeguard courses. During the course, we were being casually asked this question by the Course Instructor:
If your Mother and Wife are both drowning, who would you save first? We came out with all sort of diplomatic and tactful answers (such as save both of them jointly, save the weaker one etc etc) but none came out with the correct answer given the "difficult situation" question. Apparently this was an oral test question and the correct test answer is simple and logical without having to rack your brain over the situations you are in:

Just fiddling with the Question: If your Mother-in-law and your Wife are both drowning, who would you save first? The answer would have been easier, wouldn't it?........ ha ha ha.
Read more on basic rescue techniques such as "Reach, Throw & Wade".

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