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Infrared drowning detection system to be installed at 11 public swimming pools by 2020

Infrared drowning detection system to be installed at 11 public swimming pools by 2020

File photo of Hougang swimming complex. (Photo: ActiveSG)

SINGAPORE: A drowning detection system, which alerted a lifeguard early after a man became unconscious while swimming, will be installed in 11 public pools in Singapore by April 2020.

Sport Singapore (SportSG) will progressively implement the computer vision drowning detection system (CVDDS) to boost safety at public swimming complexes across Singapore, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu said on Friday (Mar 8).

Speaking during the Ministry for Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) Committee of Supply debate, Ms Fu said that the system uses a network of overhead infrared cameras, enabling early detection of possible drowning.

The CVDDS works on a detection response time of 15 seconds, allowing lifeguards to spot distressed swimmers more quickly.

Ms Fu added that the system will be installed at pools in Bukit Batok, Jurong West and Our Tampines Hub this year, with another seven to follow by April 2020.

The system will be implemented following a successful year-long trial at Hougang Swimming Complex.

MCCY said that the system was assessed to have complied with international standards and had a low false-alarm rate.

READ: Choa Chu Kang Sport Centre to open from 2020, sports facilities in Yishun to be upgraded

Last August, the system sounded after detecting that a 64-year-old man had sunk to the pool floor in an unconscious state, MCCY said. A lifeguard immediately rescued him from the pool, and successfully resuscitated him.


By 2020, the system will be implemented at 11 of the 26 public swimming pools listed on the ActiveSG website, and authorities added that there are plans to eventually roll out CVDDS to all its water facilities. 

In response to queries from Channel NewsAsia, deputy CEO of MCCY's statutory board SportSG Chiang Hock Woon said on Monday the detection system will enhance lifeguards' rescue efforts through early detection.

"Our ultimate goal is to use technology in surveillance for all ActiveSG water facilities. For a start, the CVDDS will be progressively implemented nationwide at all our competition pools," he added.

Dr Chiang also stressed that CVDDS is not meant as a substitute for swimmers taking precautions at public pools.

"We would like to reiterate that the system or any technology does not replace the need for pool users to be responsible for themselves or their loved ones whilst using our facilities," he said.  

"We look forward to working together with our communities to promote stronger safety awareness and culture, and strive for zero incidents."


Ms Fu also announced other digitalisation initiatives, such as the cultural concierge, an online platform for people to search and register for arts and culture events.

“Users will be able to search for event listings according to individual preferences, using key words such as ‘nearby’, ‘weekend’ or ‘family-friendly’, as well as interact with a chatbot for event and content recommendations,” Ms Fu added.

She added that the website will be integrated with relevant ticketing sites, for a “seamless user experience”.

Source: CNA/am


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