Cyprus Mail

New equipment for Paphos lifeguards but ‘proper’ towers needed

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Lifeguards at Coral Bay are welcoming the news that that the mayor and local authorities in Peyia have responded quickly to requests for a jet ski, rescue boat, spinal board and other medical equipment.

“We are very happy that this equipment will arrive on Monday, it has been hard to understand why there wasn’t a working jet ski, it’s not logical and Coral Bay is considered the best beach in the Paphos district and very busy and we really need it,” one of the lifeguards working at the beach told the Sunday Mail.

The jet ski broke down last year and was sent away to be fixed, but the same problem occurred, and it again undergoing repairs. Last year lifeguards didn’t have a jet ski for two months and the same problem occurred this year, he said.

They are also hoping that a new jet ski can be purchased as these are imperative when carrying out many of the rescue operations at the districts’ busiest of beaches, Coral Bay.

Peyia councillor Andreas Christodoulou, said he was unsure of why lifeguards were voicing concerns as he assured that the existing jet ski was being repaired and another one will be coming soon.

“The jet ski has had some electrical problems and has gone for maintenance and the municipality is also in the process of buying a new one, so there will be two,” he told the Sunday Mail.

In addition, if there is an urgent situation, one of the four jet skis belonging to the water sports business in the area of Coral Bay may be used by the lifeguards, he noted, presumably if they aren’t already being used by customers.

“If something happens, they can use these jet skis, it’s not a problem,” he said.

Another lifeguard working in Paphos pointed out that spinal backboards are also urgently required and are an extremely important part of their equipment, as there is only a handful in the entire district. However, this is part of the package due to be delivered on Monday, the first will be in use at Coral Bay if needed, next week.

“So many accidents happen when people are taking part in water sports, spinal boards are necessary to put the person on and swim them to shore and take them out of the water until the ambulance arrives. They should be moved in this way,” he said.

He stressed that a backboard is designed to immobilise an injured person with a possible spinal injury and that along with a cervical collar, head supports and straps, it can ensure that the spine does not rotate or shift at all when the injured person is being transported to safety or to another site for additional medical treatment.

They are light and able to float on water and lifeguards can use them for injuries both in and out of the water. Christodoulou said that any requests made by the lifeguards to the local authority in Peyia last year have been met.

“They came to us and everything they requested for the neck or medical items, we bought. We have spent around €300 to €400.”

Lifeguards are also requesting that towers are upgraded, as most are 20 or 30 years old and in desperate need of modernisation, including the introduction of electricity supply. This would enable the use of fans, as it is often unbearable to work in the searing heat and certain rules are in place by the labour office for those working outdoors, they said.

Electricity supply would also enable them to store ice packs, medical supplies, and help injured people.

“About 99 per cent of the people using Coral Bay so far this year are holidaymakers and we want to do our best to look after them properly. There are many incidents here every day as it is a busy beach,” a lifeguard said.

The lifeguards are also hoping that improvements to the towers will include putting in windows, making them more comfortable and enabling them to see swimmers and beachgoers more easily.

“We work for eight months of the years and April and May can be cold and windy all of the time.”

They noted that one of the lifeguard towers at Polis Chrysochous and another at Atlantida beach in Geroskipou are good examples of how all of the towers should be.

The councillor said that a third lifeguard tower to cover the central area of Coral Bay was requested last year and the council had said they would consider it.

Lifeguards also noted that a rescue boat, the first for Coral Bay, which had been requested will also arrive on Monday. There are only four in the entire Paphos district so far, he added, and are in use at Polis Chrysochous, Neo Chorio, Geroskipou and Sand Beach in Paphos, due to the high, dangerous waves.

So far this year, Paphos lifeguards have performed more than 20 life-saving rescues, they noted, which could have ended in a person drowning. They also dealt with more than 500 other incidents such as jellyfish stings, cuts and abrasions, water sports accidents and instances of swimmers getting a cramp.

Lifeguards welcomed the addition of more staff this year, with around 95 lifeguards employed in the Paphos district alone for the summer season. “We are able to cope this year as we have more staff and are better able to look after the public and protect them, we are glad about that.”

Christodoulou also noted that a number of recent upgrades at Coral Bay have resulted in better access to the beach, new buoys in the sea and new markings for the water sports corridor.

“Whatever the lifeguards have asked we have carried out and we have spent a considerable amount,” he said.


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