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The Poseidon system, a computer-aided drowning detection system, helps lifeguard rescue drowning casualty in Bangor swimming pool, North Wales   Less than 40 seconds elapse from the system alert of the drowning to the victim being pulled from the pool Bangor, August 25, 2005 – For the first time in the UK, a computer-aided drowning detection system helped lifeguards detect and rescue a young drowning victim in Bangor Swimming Pool (North Wales). The Gwynedd County Council decided more than two years ago to install the Poseidon system as an additional measure to raise the level of safety for all swimmers. Poseidon serves as a lifeguard’s “third eye” to help prevent drowning tragedies in public, lifeguarded swimming pools. The accident happened Wednesday, August 24th at 1:27 PM, when a teenage girl, swimming at the water’s surface, sank to the bottom of the pool at the deep end. Poseidon monitored potential distress, detected her immobilized at the pool bottom and within 3 seconds sounded the alarm to the lifeguard on duty, who rescued the victim and pulled her out of the water. She was resuscitated and taken to a hospital, where she recovered. The elapsed time from the moment the girl started descending, was detected by the system and was pulled out of the water by the lifeguard was 62 seconds. Poseidon alerts lifeguards that something suspicious is happening in real time, and notifies them of the exact location of the incident. François Marmion, General Manager of Vision IQ, the company which developed Poseidon, said that health organizations worldwide document hundreds of drownings and near-drownings every year, many in pools staffed with professional, certified lifeguards. “It is virtually impossible for lifeguards to see everything that is happening in the pool all of the time, given the warm, noisy and crowded environment in which they typically work. But medical and water safety experts agree that lifeguards must reach a potential drowning victim and initiate resuscitation as quickly as possible to prevent death or lifelong injury. Poseidon was developed as an aid to lifeguards, and a better means of surveillance and detection”. Poseidon was installed in the Bangor pool in March 2003.

This is the fourth rescue involving the Poseidon system in Europe (2 in France, 1 in Germany). The Poseidon system has helped lifeguards detect and avert other potential drownings since the first system was installed in 2000. In November 2000, Poseidon helped lifeguards save the life of a teenager in France who nearly drowned during a routine lap swim. In 2003, in France, an adult beginning swimmer blacked out and was rescued. In March 2004 in Germany, Poseidon helped lifeguards rescue an elderly victim who nearly drowned after a heart attack during his regular swim session.

About Poseidon Poseidon™ is the benchmark for computer-aided drowning detection systems and is designed to work alongside human lifeguards. Already in service or being installed in more than 120 pools in Europe, North America, Japan and soon in Australia, Poseidon is a computer vision surveillance system that recognizes texture, volume and movement within a pool. Comprised of an advanced camera network that continually surveys the pool and a specialized software system that analyzes, in real-time, the trajectories of swimmers, the system can alert lifeguards in the first seconds of a potential accident to the exact location of the swimmer in danger. Poseidon is positioned to become a worldwide safety standard for public aquatics facilities.

Poseidon was developed by Vision IQ. Europools is now the official and exclusive distributor of Poseidon for the UK and Ireland.

About Vision IQ Vision IQ specializes in the development of computer vision technologies. The company has developed and patented new technologies for the surveillance and analysis of visual scenes based on state-of-the-art mathematical formulas. Vision IQ was founded in 1995 and has 30 employees in France and the United States.

About Bangor Swimming Pool Built in the 60′s, the Bangor Swimming Pool is 33 meters long, with a depth ranging from 1.1 to 3.8 meters, which makes it one of the deepest pools in Wales. Based in Gwynedd in the north, the pool is in constant use by local swimming clubs, schools and the city’s university as well as the general public for swimming and diving classes. The Poseidon system alerts lifeguards that something suspicious is happening in real time, and notifies them of the exact location of the incident. “Lifeguarding is a difficult job, and guards need to keep an eye on what’s happening. We saw that Poseidon allows the lifeguards to continue working in the same manner as before. There is no need for them to be watching screens. My lifeguards are at their best when they are watching the water”, said Brian Evans, the Gwynedd County Council Leisure Officer.

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