Firefighters promote water safety and drowning prevention
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service is issuing important water safety advice in support of the National Fire Chiefs Council’s (NFCC) Be Water Aware campaign.
The targeted campaign is running until 5 May 2019, aiming to highlight the risk of accidental drowning and Cheshire firefighters are out in their communities giving safety information and engaging with residents to emphasise the importance of staying safe in and around water.
255 people accidentally drowned in the UK in 2017. National statistics suggest half of these accidental drownings happened when people did not even intend to go in the water. Activities such as running, walking, fishing and cycling near water can put you at risk of drowning.
NFCC’s 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.”
The Service is encouraging people to follow the NFCC’s water safety advice:
- Never go swimming alone
- If you are going for a walk or run near water stick to proper pathways and stay clear of the water’s edge.
- 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 and use any water rescue equipment if it is available
- 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
- Know your limits – the cold can kill
The fire service has successfully reduced the number of fire deaths by focusing on prevention work and the same principle is applied to tackling drowning. Response is not enough – drownings must be prevented.
Nick Evans, Head of Prevention at Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, said:
“We want people to enjoy spending time around water, but we want them to do it safely. Firefighters and other emergency services risk their own safety to rescue people who get into difficulties on our waterways, so it’s important that people take extra care and keep everyone safe.”
For key safety information please visit our website www.cheshirefire.gov.uk