International Water Safety Day:
“Safe Greece” for 500,000 primary school Greeks
On May 15 2015, 500,000 of primary school children will have the opportunity to get water safety awareness through, “Safe Greece“, that will involve awareness about the water safety measures and lifesaving sport, as part of Greece’s contribution to the candidate International Water Safety Day, with the support of the Ministry of Culture, Education and Religious Affairs, the Ministry of Health, the Hellenic Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, the Hellenic Federation of Underwater Activity, the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation, the International Awards Giuseppe Sciacca, and the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
Drowning is a serious and underestimated public health problem, as a person might lose his life from it every 30 seconds on Earth due to various causes. In April 28, the project was welcomed enthusiastically by the 100 primary school educators who attended the water safety daily meeting that was organized by the Peristeri Health Centre and the Health Education Office of the Directory of Primary Education for Health Education Athens- Region C. The program was not limited on May 15, but it continues to allow as many schools and children have the opportunity of gaining the benefit.
Several people commented about “Safe Greece“. The scientific creator of the project, Dr. Stathis Avramidis (Advisor for Health Education and Accident Prevention, General Secretariat of Public Health at the Ministry of Health, Officer at the Hellenic Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, and Director of Lifesaving Sport at the Hellenic Federation of Underwater Activity), commented: “In 1992, two remarkable individuals, Greg Bonann and Tai Collins, the creators of Baywatch, founded ‘Camp Baywatch’ in an effort to teach children in need lifesaving. We followed their example. The poster of ‘Safe Greece’ portrays Greg rescuing a child, in commemoration of their initiative. The ‘virus’ of their selfless giving, was transmitted to Greece. We are proud to be ‘infected’. In Yiannis Smaragdis‘ film, God Loves Caviar, Ioannis Varvakis is asking: ‘Could words change the world?’ His servant replied: ‘No. But the words may change people’s mood. And then these people can change the world!’ We are grateful for the support of so many important organizations.” Kim Jarvis, Project Manager of the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation, commented: “Greece’s initiative for water safety is monumental.” Bob Burnside, founder of the United States Lifesaving Association and world winner of the Paragon Aquatic Safety Award by the International Swimming Hall of Fame, said: “Since antiquity, Greeks made always the first step; other nations followed. It seems that this is happening today too!” American Shaun Anderson, the creator of the International Water Safety Day, added: “We are extremely satisfied with Greece’s contribution to the world initiative that aims to fight the burden of drowning by establishing an international day focused on water safety education.” Dr. Yiannis Baskozos, General Secretariat of Public Health at the Ministry of Health, underlined: “The government serves the public health consciously. With zero cost for the state badget, we will implement a gigantic, in terms of significance and range, accident prevention project.” Mr. Vagelis Rakantas (President, Hellenic Federation of Underwater Activity), said: “We aim to educate all children on water safety and lifesaving sport, so they can learn how to protect their lives and the lives of others from aquatic emergencies“. Dr. Vicky Bafataki (Secretary General of the International Giuseppe Sciacca Awards), added: “We are proud to endorse this program. Everything that involves safety should be the responsibility for all of us“. Bruce Wigo (CEO/President, ISHOF), said: “The International Swimming Hall of Fame, that aims to promote water safety around the world, is happy to participate and endorse this program in Greece“.
The aim of this project is to raise a timely awareness, before the summer season, to the vulnerable population of the children about the dangers of the water and to motivate them to join a lifesaving sport team, as means for a lifetime sport education and aquatic accident prevention. As the slogan of the International Water Safety Day says, we are “striving to make a planet that’s 70% water, 100% water safe.“
Information: Stathis Avramidis, PhD, firstname.lastname@example.org. http://sportlifesaving.blogspot.gr/