Annette and Jason James keep daughter Tiffany safe in the water. The Queensland Ambulance Service has urged people to stay safe this summer, following recent drowning incidents.
Annette and Jason James keep daughter Tiffany safe in the water. The Queensland Ambulance Service has urged people to stay safe this summer, following recent drowning incidents. RON BURGIN

Family lines up for CPR training

DAN McMahon’s extended family is lining up to do CPR courses in the new year after his daughter Christina nearly drowned.

The Shalom College principal said that still being able to enjoy his pool with his family was the best Christmas present he could hope for.

In a split second in November, as his wife Sheridan watched the children playing in the pool, his daughter Christina swallowed water and became unconscious.

Mr McMahon’s neighbour scaled a 1.8m-high fence to start performing CPR on the three-year-old.

Christina was one of six people taken to Bundaberg Hospital following water-related incidents in the past six months.

And in the 2008/09 financial year, there were seven hospital cases of near drownings.

The incidents have prompted the Queensland Ambulance Service to issue a strong water safety message this summer.

QAS regional operations supervisor Rick Tenthy said the ambulance service’s biggest safety concern was young children near water.

“There have been a number of times when I’ve dealt with cases and people have said, ‘I only looked away for a second’, but that’s all it takes,” he said.

He also said QAS officers have attended “tragic” jobs in which people had been drinking and then dived into water when they did not know its depth.

The paramedic said the result was often serious head and neck injuries.

Mr Tenthy also encouraged people to learn CPR.

“We would encourage anyone who is able to learn a first-aid course and advanced resuscitation to do it — often that’s the intervention that makes the most difference,” he said.

Surf lifesavers and lifeguards will also be busy patrolling the region’s beaches this summer and have safety tips for people venturing into the water.

SLSQ Wide Bay Capricorn regional manager Craig Holden said two near drownings in river mouths at Innes Park and Elliott Heads highlighted the danger of swimming in those areas.

“We are advising people that river mouths and creek mouths are dangerous at the outgoing tide and they’re a popular place for sharks as well,” he said.

The regional manager said alcohol and swimming “certainly don’t mix” and that patrolled beaches were the safest place for swimmers this summer.



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