Dubai: More rescue units are being set up on Dubai beaches to help police reach swimmers in trouble in less than six minutes, according to Dubai Police.
Captain Juma Biti Bin Darwish, head of the rescue department at Dubai police, said three rescue points will be created on Dubai’s beaches to increase the number to nine.
Each point will have medically trained staff who can help revive swimmers caught in dangerous conditions or those who can’t swim.
“We aim to reduce the time to reach the victim from seven to six minutes,” said Bin Darwish, adding that the three rescue points will be located at Dubai Marina 1, 2, and 3.
“Now we have rescue points at Hamriya port, Floating bridge and Rashid ports which cover Dubai beaches,” he said.
He said most accidents in the sea share common elements such as broken engines, getting lost, as well as drownings along the shore among beachgoers.
In 2012, two people died from drowning while a further 24 were injured while swimming on Dubai beaches.
The year before, there was one reported death from drowning and 63 people were injured in swimming-related incidents.
According to statistics issued by the rescue department at Dubai police’s operation room, police received the highest numbers of calls for assistance in March, April and June with each of those months reporting an average of five incidents on Dubai’s beachfronts.
For the other nine months of the year, police recorded an average of one to three incidents per month.
Captain Bin Darwish said the two deaths in 2012 happened in the Al Mamzar area.
“The first death happened at midday and it happened because the victim did not know how to swim,” said Bin Darwish. “The other death also took place in Al Mamzar and it happened because the victim was swimming after sunset and it was dark in the area.”
He added that intensive police patrols are conducted in areas which witnessed more drowning cases such as Al Mamzar.
He said sometimes over-confident people are the ones who drown.
“People who are careless and over-confident are the ones who drown the most because they believe that nothing could happen to them,” he said.
He said that some kind of medicines can also affect swimmers negatively.
“Practicing sports before swimming can affect the heart and lead to the death of the swimmer,” he added.
He said fear, currents and not following the swimming rules and regulations in the area are among the main reasons for getting into trouble.
Captain Bin Darwish called on the public not to swim after sunset and not to go deep in the water while swimming.
He said the public can help people in difficulty but warned that citizen rescuers need to be careful if a victim tries to hold on to them forcibly. They should immediately stop their attempts to rescue the person, otherwise they could also be at risk.
“Public must immediately report drowning cases to police,” he said.
Cap. Bin Darwish urged the public to call police emergency number 999 if they suspected that a swimmer is drowning.