Can Flemish lifeguards reanimate drowning people?

Two Flemish daily newspapers, Het Laatste Nieuws and De Morgen, reported that, according to research by Leuven University, dozens of lifeguards wouldn’t be able to reanimate a drowning person.

The Department of Movement Sciences of Leuven University tested 616 swimming pool and lake guards during the last two years. The lifeguards, who all have the necessary qualifications to practise their profession, had to reanimate a drowning adult man.

The guards tested achieved a median score of 66%, even though they have to go through compulsory supplementary training each and every year. The verdict: “A disappointing result”

Nearly three-quarters of the test subjects said they had never had to reanimate a person or practise doing so, among them lifeguards who have been in the profession for more than ten years. The worst results were scored by older and 'professional' guards.

Flemish sports agency Bloso, responsible for the lifeguard training, is looking into how the skill level of the guards can be boosted.