Drowning detection system to be implemented at 11 public pools
When lifeguard Mr Lin Xin, 25, was on duty on Aug 4 at Hougang Swimming Complex last year, an alarm went off.
It was from the drowning detection system and alerted him to a possible casualty in the pool.
A 64-year-old unconscious man had sunk to the bottom of the competition pool.
When Mr Lin heard the alarm, he dived in, pulled the man out, and saved his life after administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation and using an automated external defibrillator.
The Computer Vision Drowning Detection System (CVDDS) has been on trial at the Hougang Swimming Complex since December 2017.
Costing about $500,000 per pool, it has been used in Europe and relies on 48 specially customised overhead cameras and infrared technology.
On Friday (March 8), Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) Minister, Grace Fu, told Parliament that Sport Singapore (SportSG) will progressively implement the CVDDS in competition pools here.
On Wednesday, representatives from SportSG and lifeguards gave the media a demonstration of how the system works, at Hougang Swimming Complex.
When a swimmer is unconscious in the water, the cameras will detect his presence and set off an alarm within 15 seconds, alerting the lifeguard.
With the length and the breadth of the pool divided into markings, the coordinates of the drowning victim will be shown on an LED display panel to tell the lifeguard where he is.
The CVDDS is programmed to only sound off the alarm if the victim is not moving and is close to the bottom of the pool.
The media were shown a video clip of last August’s incident.
In it, several swimmers were seen around the victim but did not realise what was happening.
One swimmer even swam above the unconscious man without realising he was drowning.
SportSG told The New Paper there are 28 competition pools under them. They are all in public pools.
MCCY said the CVDDS will be installed in 11 competition pools across Singapore by April 2020.
The system will be implemented in the remaining pools later.