The holiday season is on. In the media, we can hear about drowning in the Polish Baltic Sea almost every day. We talked about responsibility, or rather the lack of it, with Apoloniusz Kurylczyk, who manages WOPR in the West Pomeranian Voivodeship. – The biggest problem is that we, as a nation, do not have the culture to use water areas – says Salon24.pl, the head of rescuers.
Dawid Sieńkowski (Salon24.pl): What situations do WOPR rescuers most often encounter in the water?
Apoloniusz Kurylczyk (director of WOPR in the West Pomeranian Voivodeship): The rescuer has various adventures, but I think that the greatest challenge is the lack of risk awareness in people, especially after drinking. Here are various ideas of our compatriots, especially men. For example, finding in the middle of the fairway on the Odra river, where ships sail, a guy in panties in a children’s ring, from which the air is still coming out. And completely drunk. We had such an event a few years ago and it stuck in my memory.
Or hauling out a person hanging on spurs who can’t handle big waves. The lifeguards approach, and the man, who smells of alcohol and can hear some syntax problems, says he will “rest a little and come back”. Recently, another man – probably not fully aware of the risks associated with falling into the waving sea – along with a several-year-old child who certainly cannot swim, also walked on spurs. These are the types of cases.
What is the bigger scourge – alcohol or inadequately measured forces against intentions and lack of swimming skills?
Both, but I think the biggest problem is that we as a nation do not have the culture to use the water areas. We are going in the direction that there must be prohibitions, there must be a red flag everywhere, there must be 50-60 rescuers to secure the area. Especially in larger towns, such as Kołobrzeg. For example, in the Netherlands, similar areas are secured by teams of up to a dozen people. There is an intervention group that provides help to people who really need help, that is, who are drowning.
In our case, the lack of awareness makes us enter the water when there are big waves, with a red flag, on an unguarded beach, because we think that “no one will scold us for it.” And then it is in an unguarded place that you have to intervene, run several dozen / several hundred meters and throw yourself into the water to save the person.
So these are two things – overestimating your own abilities in terms of conditions and alcohol. As a result, we have a lot of events, and some of them, unfortunately, end tragically. Of course, this is dominated by men, 90-95 percent. cases of drowning, it is men. They take risks, claim that nothing will happen to them, and often consume alcoholic beverages as well.
What does it look like on the beach? On vacation, vacationers drink a lot of alcohol. Fighting, brawls – do rescuers also intervene in such situations?
When it comes to fights and fights, fortunately I haven’t heard about it recently. If it happens, the police should intervene on the spot.
Unfortunately, there is alcohol consumption. And it is not alcohol that kills, but decisions after drinking alcohol are disastrous. The brake should be the opening of the beer. I opened the beer, so I do not get into the car, I do not go into the water, because I am responsible, I am a father and I give an example to children that holidays can be different. You can be active: play with the children on the beach, go swimming with the children, and not lie down and drink beer.
It certainly happens that sunbathers do not listen to the instructions of the lifeguards. Then what? Police notification? Or maybe there is something similar to the measures of direct coercion in WOPR?
It is not possible to introduce anything by means of direct coercion. It’s a short way and doesn’t lead to anything good. I want to talk, educate and provide information. I would absolutely not be inclined to use physical force.
If the orders of the WOPR lifeguards do not work, you can hoist a red flag, notify the appropriate services and wait for these services to bring order to the beach.
Maybe you’ve heard about the beach event in Mielno a few days ago, where the couple had sex, which other sunbathers did not like and caused a conflict. There are often such situations – having sex on the beach and – as a result – a fight?
No. I admit that I did not have time to follow it, nor was I particularly interested in it. I think that such situations take place on the beach, but at night. As rescuers, we should be interested in whether or not there is a risk of drowning. And it often binds. On the last Saturday night, there were four mid-night interventions at different locations. Water rescuers had to save people from drowning. People are unaware that they can sleep until 1pm the next day, and the rescue team at night has to gather and get into the water, and show up at the bathing beach in the morning.
Source: Salon24.pl: Strona główna by www.salon24.pl.
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