Empowering marginalized communities especially women with safety knowledge and emergency skills in First-Aid & Lifesaving

RLSS (India)  together with Tara Mobile Creches Pune an NGO working towards improving the quality of life of migrant construction workers and their families organised a training workshop to spread Safety Awareness & basic First-Aid Skills.  

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Meet Real Life Heroes: A Lifesaver Son to The Rescue

Abhijeet Bhattarcharya, a dedicated lifesaver and  trainer was faced with a most unenviable situation.  His father was sick with Covid19, Oxygen level were down to 78 and his condition deteriorating.  No ICU beds, no ventilators, no oxygen, no doctors and no was money available to pay for space in a Covid hotel. When I asked him if I could help with some money, he said that he would look after his father himself with the skills, knowledge and expertise he has acquired as a trainer with the Rashtriya Life Saving Society (India). Along with his father, he also began to attend to four aged neighbors with similar symptoms.

Over the next two weeks he put his father on a strict diet, routine of steam inhalation, saline gargle, deep breathing and prayers.  Combined, all these helped and he proudly informed me that his father had recovered and tested “Negative”. The same was the case with his aged neighbors. 

In my opinion, whatever Abhijeet did must have helped but what would have contributed most to his father’s recovery was the fact that he had help and assurance from a doting son.  This made him fight more strongly for his life. On Abhijeet’s part was his confidence as a Master Lifesaving Skills trainer and the belief that he was going to get his father well.

Remember the more lifesavers we have, the more Surakshit Bharat we shall attain.

Author: Retd. Rear Admiral P D Sharma – Founder President RLSS (India)

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One of the most important aspirations of RLSS (India) is the dream to have ‘a lifesaver in every home’. The dream can only be realised if we train lifesavers at a much faster rate involving and encouraging greater number of trainers to train lifesavers.  RLSS (India) having trained half a million lifesavers in over two decades is not enough as we are targeting young adults in almost 350 million homes in the country. To give an impetus to our training effort setting up an Award for those who achieve most in training lifesavers was an obvious choice.  It is hoped that the award of the Trophy will generate all round interest in training more lifesavers. 

The Trophy has been named after Mr. Ron Rankin AM, former President of Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) who was five times awarded “Lifesaver of the Year” by SLSA.

Mrs. Anez Katre, Lifesaver of the year 2014

The Rashtriya Life Saving Society (India) instituted the “Lifesaver of the Year” award with Mrs Anez Katre of The Doon School  winning the inaugural award, presented on 4th June 2014 at Pune during Rescue INDIA at the hands of Mrs. Dianne Montalto, President RLSS (Australia). 

Anez  Katre  at the time was an important member on the Doon School faculty. A keen swimmer she promoted lifesaving training at the Doon School and other schools in Dehradun. She also promoted lifesaving sports, bringing a team to participate in most Rescue INDIA National Lifesaving Championships. Now retired and based in Delhi, she keeps in regular touch with RLSS (I).

Tej Narayan Bhagat, Lifesaver of the year 2016

Tej from Pune is a popular Swimming & Lifesaving Sports Coach, Swimming pool operator and maintainer who has been regularly bringing a team to participate in Rescue INDIA series. He has many rescues of drowning victims to his credit.

Tarun Murugesh, Lifesaver of the year 2017 

Tarun has represented in most National & World Lifesaving Sports Championships and has done India proud, winning many medals. Based in Chennai, he is a Master Trainer for Lifesaver/Lifeguard and helps his mother, Ms Jayanthi Murugesh running an “All Women’s Lifesaving Centre of RLSS (I) in Tamil Nadu.

Criteria for selection for the award of “LIFESAVER OF THE YEAR”

  • Must be a volunteer lifesaver.
  • Must be 16 years or above of age. 
  • Must be proficient in English and/or the language he/she wishes to train in.
  • Must be literate with basic understanding of language, ability to read and write.
  • Must have current award to the level of training lessons he/she may be called upon to impart.
  • Must be financially solvent.
  • Must have contributed to lifesaving and community safety activities during the past year or more. Longer involvement with the Lifesaving Movement shall be preferred during the assessment.
  • Must be associated with and in good standing with RLSS (I).
  • Must display continued commitment to RLSS (I) and it programmes.
  • Must be capable of acting as a representative or an ambassador of RLSS (I).
  • Must submit details of any outstanding rescues, contributions or achievements. 
  • Must submit either in writing or at interview an opinion about the future of lifesaving in India, its development and solutions for challenges currently faced by RLSS (I).
  • Consideration will be given to recognize prior learning/current expertise in lifesaving skills at the discretion of the National Headquarters if recommended by a branch head or licensee.
  • Nominations for the Lifesaver of the Year Award should be endorsed or recommended by a person of authority such as the Head of the local RLSS (I) Branch/Licensee or an Officer from the District/State/Central authority in recognition of the contribution made by the Nominee in providing relief to the public in times of distress or disasters.   

Selection and Award of Trophy

  • Nominations for the Award should reach the National Headquarters by 30th of December for the Award to be presented at the ‘Rescue India’ National Lifesaving Sports Championship in the following year.
  • Upon receipt of nominations, an Evaluation Committee will be constituted to assess and recommend the Winner briefly giving reason for the same to the President for his final approval.
  • The presentation of the Award shall be made at the conclusion of the annual National Sports Lifesaving Championship when a large gathering of Lifesavers, athletes and guests are expected to be present.
  • The Trophy will be awarded to the winner at the hands of the Chief Guest along with a certificate and replica.

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8 Indian Beaches accorded the prestigious “Blue Flag” Certification

Certifying beaches to fly the Blue Flag started in Europe first as beach lovers found many beaches littered with dirt and plastics and remains of beach parties. Over 4500 beaches fly the Blue Flag in Europe with Beach Management Systems (BEAMS) in place. 

In India it started 2 years ago with a dream to make Indian beaches safe and clean. Society of Integrated Coastal Management (SECOM) under the Ministry of Environment worked on the project, selected the beaches and floated tenders. The winners were given the task to develop the beaches to meet the criteria for certification. Of the 33 criteria only 3 related to safety which is understandable for European countries where safety consciousness is high and safety systems are in place. But not so in India!

The Rashtriya Life Saving Society (India) or RLSS (I), therefore, stepped in to contribute in support of the Beach Management System (BEAMS) in phases like:

  • Phase I – Audited and surveyed the beaches.
  • Phase II – Trained Beach Lifeguards and Beach Managers in international Beach Management Systems and protocols.
  • Phase III – Recommended sourced and supplied Beach Safety Equipment. 
  • Phase IV – Advised and assisted with rigging of the beach with Beach Flag Systems, safety hoardings and signage with information on the beach and safest place to swim or bathe.

Creating a Safe Swim Haven marked with red & yellow flags was declared an important task for lifeguards to set up every morning, all in support of the Beach Management System. They worked tirelessly mapping, creating approaches, cleaning and marking the safe areas and rigging the beaches to international standards of safety and services. 

RLSS (I) congratulates every person, who has been a part of this effort. It was difficult as many hurdles and challenges had to be overcome, but now when we look at these serene beaches, we know that we have done well by the cause of safer and cleaner beaches in India.

We would like to compliment the following organisations which made this possible.

  • ICZM- World Bank Funded-Integrated Coastal Zone Management
  • MoEFCC-Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change
  • FEE-Foundation of Environment Education
  • SICOM-Society of Integrated Coastal Management
  • BEAMS-Beach Management Services &
  • RLSS (India) – The Project Team

A Glimpse of these Wonderful Beaches

What is Blue Flag?

The Blue Flag certification is an internationally recognized Eco-label accorded by the Foundation for Environment Education (FEE), Denmark. The status is accorded only after meeting thirty-three criteria under four major heads, namely – environmental education & information; bathing water quality; environmental management & conservation; and safety & services on the beach. The Blue Flag beaches are considered clean, safe and friendly.

India is among the few countries in Asia, which has accepted to designate beaches to fly the Blue Flag fulfilling the criteria that goes with it. This certification is a global recognition of India’s conservation and sustainable development efforts for its beaches.

#BlueFlag #CleanBeaches #SafeBeaches #RLSSIndia


Written by…

Rear Admiral P D Sharma, AVSM, NM, IN Retd.

Founder President RLSS (India)

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To be Safe is Wise

I was asked, “Why should we learn First Aid?” My response: Life is precious and it must be saved at all cost. General awareness of first aid among people contributes handsomely to our safety and saving of lives. Disasters, both natural and manmade, accidents, mishaps and even sudden illnesses can impact anyone, anywhere, at any time without warning. Faced with such a situation, one has a choice – do nothing as you do not know what to do or respond knowledgably and effectively because you found time to learn basic lifesaving skills or First Aid. Remember, disasters that give us grief are only 15% natural but 85% manmade.  So we are the victims and the cause; care and concern at both ends can in deed save many precious lives.

The most vulnerable section of our population to mishaps and accidents is the youth, men and women in the age group of 15 to 50 years.  Reasons for their vulnerability are many like:

  • Mostly breadwinners in a family have to be on the move regardless of prevailing conditions.
  • Still gaining experience in life and living with a tendency to take risks often convinced of their invincibility.
  • Zest to experience living in all its forms in mountains, jungles, rivers and the sea, all eminently justifiable but not speed, alcohol, or drugs. In moderation they are fine but fatal if indulged in excesses. 

Simple lifesaving skills, if acquired can help your buddy in distress both mental and physical. There are statistics on young people:

  • Left to cope with a drunken friend who was sick, injured or unconscious.
  • Had to deal with asthma attacks.
  • Cope with someone with a head injury. 
  • Help someone who is choking.
  • Admitted to hospital, commonly due to:
    • Road accidents.
    • Falls.
    • Poisoning

In all these situations, a helping hand by a first aider as a first responder can make the difference between life and death. The more we have of them among us the better.

Please learn lifesaving skills and contribute to SAFETY in the community.

Admiral P.D. Sharma

Author: Rear Admiral PD Sharma Retd. Founder & President RLSS (India)

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Making Masks: Helping India in its fight against COVID-19

Meet Mrs. Jayanthi Murugesh, a volunteer with RLSS(I) for over 15 years, who is always ready to help the society. She is a creative artist, a mother, a lifesaver and now helping India fight against Corona virus.

She has set up India’s first ‘All Women’s Life Saving Centre‘ (AWLS) in Chennai promoting safety awareness amongst women, especially mothers, in keeping with RLSS (I)’s belief that ‘if you teach a woman first aid & lifesaving skills, she will take them back to her entire family and neighbours as well’. For the past many days, Jayanthi has been stitching hundreds of masks from recycled clothes and distributing them to the poor & needy. She has been ably assisted in this task by her son Tarun who is also a certified RLSS (I) Master Trainer and an athlete. On behalf of RLSS (I), we would like to say a big ‘THANK YOU’ to this mother and son duo and pray for them to be safe and healthy. 

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