Reducing liability for rescue tube landowners
The threat of being sued may be stopping lifesaving equipment from getting to the waters edge, where it is needed the most. But new legislation could change that.
The threat of being sued may be stopping lifesaving equipment from getting to the waters edge, where it is needed the most.
Right now under current law, homeowners could be held liable if something went wrong using rescue equipment kept on their land.
That concern has slowed an effort to reduce the number of drowning deaths, but new legislation could change that.
Having automatic external defibrillators around Hawaiii have saved lives on land.
Now, there is also an effort to prevent deaths in the water by using these rescue tubes.
"The tube was used to keep a swimmer in distress afloat for 25 minutes until the rescue helicopter arrived," said Eric Kvick, with the Hawaii Kai Lions Club.
The Hawaii Kai Lions Club distributed 100 of the tubes, with some going up at notoriously dangerous swimming spots without lifeguards.
Others went up on private property. But some beachfront property owners have been reluctant to install the tubes.
"One of the concerns we've heard is land owners might be concerned the liability might go to them if something were to go wrong in a rescue with one of the tubes," said Senator Stanley Chang.
So Chang drafted a bill to take away that liability, in the hopes more homeowners would put rescue equipment along the water's edge.
"What we would do with this bill is extend the protection to the person who is doing the rescue. And also the property owner where the AED and rescue tubes are located," added Chang.
Lifeguards use the tubes when they respond to drowning victim.
The yellow tubes have instructions so a bystander could quickly toss the equipment to a person in the water or take it to them.
"If we have rescue tubes in place, an experienced swimmer could swim out to someone and that person in distress could grab the tube and hopefully get back to shore safely," stated Chang.
While this program started with the Hawaii Kai Lions Club, Kauai also has rescue tubes put up by a private group. Drownings are a statewide concern, as it is a leading cause of death of visitors and residents alike.
The Hawai Kai Lions club is working to raise $80,000, so it can buy 1,000 rescue tubes. They would then give them away to beach goers and homeowners for free.
Chang's bill will be introduced once the next legislative session begins in January.