UAE beaches to deploy AI cameras for improved swimmer monitoring

UAE beaches to deploy AI cameras for improved swimmer monitoring

This technology will be rolled out on several beaches in the country before the end of this year, expert says

Soon, cameras put up on UAE beaches will be equipped with a new artificial intelligence-based technology that can help lifeguards monitor swimmers and identify risks.

Water safety and first aid company Blueguard is working with a technology provider that can make this possible.

“On a busy day on the beach, there are hundreds of swimmers in the sea and just one or two lifeguards,”

said Luke Cunningham, founder and managing director of Blueguard.

“This technology can detect how many people are in the water and if any swimmer is in distress. This information is relayed back to the lifeguard.”

According to Cunningham, this technology will be rolled out on several beaches in the UAE before the end of this year. This comes as the World Health Organization (WHO) observed July 25th as the first-ever drowning prevention day.

Previous incidents

“Every drowning is completely preventable,”

said Cunningham.

“People need to realise that while the water is a safe and relaxing place with a lot of healing properties, there are associated dangers with it.”

Dr Nisha Ravindran, paediatrics and neonatology specialist at Aster Hospital, Mankhool, shared the case of a 1.5-year-old who nearly drowned in a swimming pool while on holiday in Dubai.

Allah Baksh Shaik and his wife Nilofar were with their son Noraiz when he started drowning in the pool. Not knowing how to swim, the parents desperately knocked on neighbouring doors until a good Samaritan dived in and rescued him. His mother performed CPR on him, and he was rushed to the hospital.

"The child was saved within five minutes and CPR was initiated immediately,”

said Dr Ravindran.

“Noraiz was fortunate that he got immediate treatment and survived. Drowning is one of the common causes of childhood mortality worldwide, despite being largely preventable. The strange aspect of most of these incidents is that they happen in familiar surroundings, like swimming pools or bathtubs at home.”

According to the World Health Organisation, 236,000 people die from drowning every year. Children between the ages of one and four are more at risk of drowning.

Water safety

Cunningham said people were "very laid-back" about water safety.

“When a lifeguard is on duty, a lot of parents expect the lifeguard to almost act as a babysitter for their children,”

he said.

“One of the key things in water safety is supervision. Parents must always ensure that they have their eyes on their children when they are in the water. Or they should have a friend or a family member who is doing so. They should not be complacent.”

Dr Ravindran added that there was no room for even a momentary lapse of attention.

“A responsible adult should be with the child at all times,” she said. “Even a brief lapse of attention, like attending mobile phones or having another conversation can have catastrophic consequences.”

Tips to keep children safe in the water

  • Keep eyes on them at all times.
  • Make sure young kids can swim comfortably.
  • Instal fences and gates at swimming pools.
  • Educate yourself or the primary caretaker on CPR.
  • Use life jackets during water sports and water-related activities.
  • Talk to children about water safety and pair children with siblings and friends when getting into and out of a pool.

News Source: Khaleej Times

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