THE LIFESAVER OF THE YEAR AWARD 2019-2020
My Quest for Safety on Land and in Water
- I started swimming in 2007 & now am a national level swimmer, water polo player, lifesaving sports player, swimming coach, professional lifesaver, master trainer, diver and pool operator.
- I first got into lifesaving training in 2009 at the Indian Lifesaving Society, Kolkata and completed Senior Lifesaving training in 2010.
- I started participating in Lifesaving Sports in 2010 as an athlete with the Rashtriya Life Saving Society (India).
- I completed Lifesaving Trainer (TOT) Course, Level 1 in 2016 with RLSS (India) in Pune.
- I completed Level 2 in 2018 at Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu and Level 3 in 2020 in an Online Training under the tutelage of RLSS (India)
- Recently I have successfully completed lifesaving “Master Trainer” in an Online Training.
- I am also a Pool Operator since 2018, with a certificate awarded by the Institute of Swimming Pool Engineers, U.K.
My Career Highlights
- Team Manager at National Inter-DPS Swimming Meet 2012.
- In 2015 I launched “Awesome Life Saving Society (Varanasi)” which was U.P.’s first Gov. registered Lifesaving NGO, which provides Pool and Beach Lifeguard training certified by RLSS (India) which is the official branch of the Royal Life Saving Society (Commonwealth) and a full voting member of the International Life Saving Federation (ILSF).
- Secretary General of Awesome Life Saving Society (Varanasi).
- I organized the 1st “Rescue Banaras 2015”, Aquatic Lifesaving Championship on the beach & in the river Ganges.
- I have been conducting free workshops to promote lifesaving and sports in UP & other States since 2015.
- I have worked as a swimming coach at DPS Varanasi from 2010 to 2014 and at the Blue Dolphin Swimming Club, Hyderabad from 2014 to 2015.
- I was also a commercial diver at the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and served at Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh in 2014.
- In 2016 Awesome Life Saving Society (Varanasi) became a Licensee of RLSS (India) and is a training Center for safety training on Land and in Water in the State of U.P.
- I officiated at the Splash and Dash, a Swift Reaction Swimming Event, in 2016 conducted by RLSS (I) in PUNE.
- I was an official at the Rescue India 2017, Goa (Pool) and Malvan (Beach & Ocean) Events.
- I also organized World’s Largest Swimming Lesson (WLSL) at DPS Varanasi with RLSS (India) in 2017.
- In 2017 – 2018 I have conducted first aid training in private and public schools like DPS Varanasi and Bengali Tola Govt. School Varanasi.
- In 2018 I have trained Lifeguards at Gymkhana Club at Gurgaon, Haryana Merchant Navy Training Academy, Konnagar Swimming Club in Kolkata and in many other states of India.
- I was an official at Rescue India 2019 held at the Union Territory, Daman and Diu.
- I was given “Gallantry Award” in 2019 by RLSS (India) at the “Post Rescue INDIA 2019 Conference” at Diu.
- I have been a popular RLSS (India) first aid trainer at the Badwe Group CSR project.
- I have been to factories for Trauma Management to train in States like Delhi 2019, Haryana 2019, Rajasthan 2019 and Uttrakhand 2019 and have trained approximately 6500 candidates in one project in 2019.
- I have been training volunteers in CPR & AED with A fitness Organization in Delhi and Faridabad.
I have saved over 100 innocent lives of accident victims on land and in aquatic environment over the last five years and have given lifeguard, first aid, lifesaving, trauma management and CPR training to over 10,000 candidates to date.
A FEW CASE STUDIES OF ACCIDENT VICTIMS ATTENDED TO IN 2020
India loses an estimated 5 lakh lives in accidents on land and in water annually. As a lifesaver, I have taken an oath to help anyone I see in distress, especially an accident or trauma victim. Many of us witness accidents on a daily basis but are unable to do much as we are not confident enough to intervene effectively to save a life. Learning Lifesaving Skills must therefore become a priority.
Please let me relate an incident that allowed me to fulfill the oath I had taken during every training course I attended. I observed an accident victim who was badly injured and upon a check found he was not breathing, I remembered that this could happen when a person is under shock following an accident. Immediately I began to give the victim CPR, which resulted in his becoming conscious after a few minutes. I reassured him and began to attend to his injuries with whatever I could get to dress the wounds and rushed him to nearest medical facility. The Doctor there was quite pleased to learn about what I had done to help the casualty.
Sometimes when one is in a hurry on an important errand one may overlook to stop to help. In a similar situation, once on way to another city, I observed a crowd on the road side.
Upon reaching the site, I saw a body quite still lying on the ground with blood near his head. A quick body check revealed to me that he was fortunately breathing but was severely injured on the forehead. Recollecting my lessons in First Aid, I applied a pressure bandage and took him to the nearest hospital.
India is a crowded country with numerous religions and religious festivals. Mere faith drives many to do unusual rituals, often endangering themselves as devotees. Stampedes at temples during festivals are quite common. In so many years of training and practical experience I have witnessed a new kind of accident which I find difficult to categorize.
A teenage boy, carrying a heavy idol of a Goddess, dislocated his shoulder due to the heavy weight he was lifting. Tired and stressed, he fell unconscious. Further examination revealed that he was not breathing normally, rather gasping for breath. I tried to give him two mouth to mouth rescue breaths, but could not do so as his jaw was locked. I quickly shifted to mouth to nose EAR and succeeded in giving him two rescue breaths followed by 30 chest compressions. After three cycles of CPR, he came around. With the help of some bystanders, I took him to two nearby private hospitals, where the doctors upon checking his wrist and gland pulse declared him dead. As a lifesaver I couldn’t give up so easily so I checked his eyes and pulse. He had a weak pulse, which I pointed to the doctor, who thereafter treated him and the boy survived. I don’t have photos or videos of that incident as it was a time of festival and everyone was in a hurry, but I have eye witnesses and the victim himself.
India is home to a variety of snake species ranging from extremely venomous snakes to nonpoisonous ones. Rapid urbanization and habitat modification has redefined the line between cities and forests.
I was heading out to the country side of Varanasi and saw a little snake slithering around the road. We often see these things but most of us are scared to help. This was a Viper, which is venomous and the leading cause of fatal snakebites in the country. It grows to an average total length (body + tail) of 70-90 Cm (28-35 in), with a maximum total length of 130 m (51 in).
This little Viper was struggling to find his way back home, and someone had to help him. I picked him up and kept him with me until I could find him a safer place.
It’s not like we always encounter a small creature, it could also be big. This reminds of another incident in which I had to rescue a Rubber Boa. Rubber Boas are one of the smaller boa species, adults can be anywhere from 38-84 cm (1.25-2.76 ft) long; new born are typically 19-23 cm (7.6-9.1 in) long. This fellow was hiding in a river side building near my house and needed to be rescued and removed as the building was full of people. Luckily I was there at that time; I was struggling to capture it as it was a heavy adult snake. I put him in a basket and took him to a safer place where it would not be able to hurt others or vice versa.
I have carried out many rescues which I can’t remember but it’s not about how many lives one has saved, it’s about how willingly one stops to help someone in distress.