Despite a law clearly stating the need for a lifeguard at every building swimming pool, many residential buildings are still unmanned.
This is an area where disaster is waiting to happen.
On Tuesday, a nine-year-old drowned in Dubai after he slipped into his building pool during a birthday party.
“There is a law that clearly states that the swimming pool in every residential building must be manned by a lifeguard,” informed Eng. Sultan Essa AlSuwaidi at the Dubai Municipality.
“Even during the stages of getting a building blueprint approved, a swimming pool drawing will show an allotted marking for a lifeguard. Without this no building will get an approval,” he added.
“Even diving is not permitted in such pools.”
And, in case there is a violation to this rule, “the building owners will be fined Dh3,000”.
Despite the law in place, the ground reality is something else.
Many residential buildings don’t have a lifeguard, and in some areas, the watchmen double as one.
“In our building, there’s no one manning the pool. There are times when I’m the only one in the pool. In fact, there are no floats or other safety equipments around either,” informed a resident of a Qusais building.
“There is a board that states many rules, but there’s no lifeguard around.”
Another resident complained about how children are left unsupervised in the pool. “I see them diving into the pool when they are not supposed to. It’s just very scary,” reported Sheetal, whose building in Bur Dubai is not supervised.
“Our watchman comes once in a while and checks the pool. But he’s not there all the time,” added another Bur Dubai resident.
The watchmen, who do work as both, are not qualified swimmers, and some don’t even know how to swim. “I’ve been asked to go there and check once in a while, so I do it. But I don’t know how to swim.”
With summer setting in, and many adults and children frequenting pools, it’s about time building owners did something to ensure the safety of its residents.