OPINION: Letters to the editor of the Western Advocate

TAKE CARE: Residents are being reminded to be safe around rivers in the Central Tablelands. Floods last month made the waterways even more dangerous.
TAKE CARE: Residents are being reminded to be safe around rivers in the Central Tablelands. Floods last month made the waterways even more dangerous.

Be safe around rivers and avoid another tragedy 

I WRITE from Royal Life Saving Society - Australia to ask readers to take care when they are in or around water, particularly as the warmer months approach.

The National Drowning Report 2016 reveals 280 people drowned in Australian waterways in 2015/16 – a five per cent increase on the 267 drowning deaths recorded the previous year.

Each drowning death is a personal story, impacting on families, rescuers and communities.

The report shows that 83pc of the drowning deaths were males.

It’s the highest percentage of male drowning deaths in the past 10 years.

Alcohol continues to be a risk factor in drowning deaths, with 15pc of people who drowned having a positive reading for alcohol in their bloodstream.

Of these, 40pc had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) four times the legal limit or higher.

Beaches were the leading location for drowning this year, and rivers were the next most common location.

More than a quarter of all drowning deaths happened at inland waterways, including rivers, creeks, lakes and dams.

Although inland waterways often look calm from the surface, they can present hidden dangers such as strong currents and submerged obstacles.

Such hazards are not visible from the surface and conditions may change rapidly.

The report showed an encouraging 25pc decrease in drowning deaths at rivers against the 10-year average.

Royal Life Saving’s Respect the River program promotes four simple safety tips: wear a lifejacket, avoid alcohol around water, never swim alone and learn how to save a life.

This year we also saw a reduction in the number of children under five drowning, with a 30pc decrease recorded against the 10-year average.

Young children are at the highest risk of drowning, and home swimming pools are the most common location for drowning.  

Please visit www.royallifesaving.com.au for more information.

As the hot weather approaches we want people to enjoy our beautiful waterways and be safe around the water.

Justin Scarr, CEO, Royal Life Saving Society – Australia

Know the signs of stroke and help end the suffering

ON behalf of the Stroke Foundation I would like to thank the thousands of Australians who helped us educate the community about the importance of knowing the signs of stroke during National Stroke Week.

It is vital we remember strokes don’t just happen one week of the year.

Every 10 minutes an Australian has a stroke. Every 10 minutes someone’s life changes forever.

Stroke is shockingly common in Australia. Yet despite the devastation it causes, this disease is largely unrecognised by the broader community – until it happens to a loved one, a friend or a colleague.

Stroke is largely preventable, but we know that almost 50,000 new and recurring strokes will happen this year.

Stroke is treatable but again we know that many stroke patients will miss out on lifesaving treatment because they don’t get to hospital on time.

Stroke strikes suddenly and often without any warning. When it does happen, every minute counts. Time is brain. For every minute that parts of the brain are left without oxygen, brain cells are dying.

A speedy reaction to stroke can mean the difference between life and death or permanent disability.

It is our mission to stop stroke, save lives and end the suffering caused by this devastating disease.

Sharon McGowan, chief executive officer, Stroke Foundation