Drownings in Saudi Private Pools Increase
Eleven people have drowned in private swimming pools this summer because of a lack of safety precautions, the civil defense said.
“Most of Saudi Arabia's swimming pools are found in homes and private parks which the civil defense has no authority over,” said Col. Ali Aqelli head of Jeddah's civil defense.
Attention was brought to the dangers of private pools after a 13 year-old boy, swimming unsupervised, drowned in his family’s pool. "Most deaths occur because people swim unsupervised as is the case in home pools and pools in private parks," Aqelli said.
Because private pools are usually rented out, the parks do not hire a lifeguard. Pools are rented out to families and school trips, and in most cases, there is no one who is experienced in dealing with drowning accidents. Civil defense authorities do not have the power to impose rules on private property, though the pools there lack the basic safety requirements such as water depth signs.
Drowning incidents have declined in chalets where civil defense authorities have imposed supervision on the pools, said investigator Lt. Mohammed Al-Nagemi.
Chalet managers were ordered to mark pools with water depth signs, provide life jackets and rings, and have someone acting as a life guard. However, more people prefer private parks to chalets because they are located almost everywhere in the north, south and east of Jeddah, Nagemi said.
"It is a pity that people prefer convenience over safety. Private parks have simply become a death trap," Nagemi said.
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