Hellenic National Water Safety Program
Drowning is a leading cause of death and a serious public health problem worldwide. There is one reported drowning death every 90 seconds on Earth. However, the true number may be one fatal drowning every 30 seconds if we include all the intentional and unintentional causes that contain immersion and submersion, whether they are reported or not. At the same time, for each fatal drowning four more non-fatal drowning episodes correspond that had to visit the hospital for precautions.
In Greece, more than 400 people lose their lives from drowning annually the last years. The male : female ratio is 3:1. About 10 children and teenagers die from drowning each year. Many incidents take place within the first 10m from the land and rarely in distances greater than 50m. Most of these incidents are preventable. The high risk time is between 12-4pm. The age group with the highest mortality is males 20-24 years old. the high risk people are those between 0-5 years old and the elderly, those that consume alcohol and exhibit a risk taking behavior.
Except drowning, numerous other accidents make take place in an aquatic environment. A dive head first in shallow water, may cause permanent paralysis due to a spinal injury. A power boat may cause a serious injury, amputation or even death after collision with a swimmer. Swimming in cold water may lead to hypothermia. The catalog of potential harmful situations that can occur is long and it expresses the need to gain water safety knowledge either theoretically or ideally practically with the participation in related lifesaving classes.
As part of the National Plan for Accidents, the General Secretariat of Public Health of the Ministry of Health, launches the "National Water Safety Program" (NWSP). The program is supported by the Hellenic Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, the National School of Public Health, the Hellenic Federation of Underwater Activity, the Pan-Hellenic Union of Doctors, the Union of Greek Athletes with Extraordinary Achievements, the International Swimming Hall of Fame (USA), the International Awards Giuseppe Sciacca (Vatican, Rome), the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation (Monaco) and the "A Chance for Children Foundation" that was founded by the Creator, Director and Producer of the TV series "Baywatch".
In addition, the health education activity, "Safe Greece", is endorsed by the Ministry of Culture, Education and Religious Affairs.
Creator and Scientific Director of the program is Dr. Stathis Avramidis, Advisor of Accident Prevention and Health Education at the General Secretariat of Public Health – Ministry of Health, employee of the Hellenic Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and Director of Lifesaving Sport at the Hellenic Federation of Underwater Activity.
AIMS - OBJECTIVES
Aim: The preservation of public health through aquatic accidents in Greece and abroad.
Objectives: To raise awareness in order to cope with aquatic accidents and to participate in lifelong lifesaving sport activities.
Activity "A Chance for Children":
Health Education with Distance Learning:
This activity contains 8 educational modules and a certificate of achievement upon successful completion of each section:
- Drowning: Prevention, Rescue, Treatment
- Water Safety in Pools
- Water Safety in Water-parks
- Water Safety at Sea and Inland Waters
- Lifesaving Theories and Models
- Introduction to Sport Lifesaving for Pool Events
- Fair Play for Lifesaving Sport
- A Chance for Children for Water Safety
- Press release HNWSP [PDF]
- Banner HNWSP [jpg] [PDF]
- Educational leaflet "I love swimming… I protect myself" [PDF]
- Poster "Put an end to DROWNING...and not to your LIFE!" [PDF]
- Poster of Drowning in Greece [PDF]
Educational Presentation "Safe Greece":
Public Statement Announcement: "Greek Beware of Drowning"