Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service is supporting the National Fire Chiefs Council’s (NFCC) Be Water Aware campaign. The week-long campaign runs from 29th April – 5 May 2019 and is a national campaign which aims to highlight the risk of accidental drowning.
Half of accidental drownings in 2017 happened when people didn’t even intend to go in the water. Activities such as running, walking, fishing and cycling near water can put you at risk of drowning. In 2017, 255 people accidentally drowned in the UK. Around 50% of these people just happened to be near water
Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Lead, Chief Fire Officer Dawn Whittaker, said: “Most people would be shocked to hear that those people who drowned just happened to be taking part in everyday activities near water, like going for a run or walk. They are unaware of the risks and are totally unprepared for the scenario of ending up in the water. By highlighting this issue and making sure simple safety messages reach them we hope to reduce the number of these needless and preventable deaths.”
Fire and Rescue Service advice:
- If you are going for a walk or run near water stick to proper pathways and stay clear of the water’s edge.
- Make sure conditions are safe. Avoid walking or running near water in the dark, when it is slippery or in bad weather
- If you’ve had alcohol don’t enter the water, avoid walking alone and avoid routes near water
- Never enter the water to try and help a person or animal – always call 999
- If you are spending time near water – whether at home or abroad make sure you are familiar with local safety information and children are fully supervised.
The fire service has successfully reduced the number of fire deaths by focusing on prevention work and now we must apply the same principle to tackling drowning. Response is not enough – we must prevent drownings.
Education Coordinator Tess Cross said “Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service education officers will be taking water safety into the lessons that they are delivering over Water Safety Week. Lessons will promote Royal National Lifeboat Institution and Royal Life Saving Society water advice and resources. More events have been planned over the summer to help educate young people to stay safe near water.”