Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) is supporting the National Fire Chiefs Council’s (NFCC) Be Water Aware campaign. The week long campaign runs from Monday 29 April – Sunday 5 May 2019 and is a national campaign which aims to highlight the risk of accidental drowning.
RBFRS staff will be speaking to residents across the County about the importance of staying safe around water, and will be issuing advice on social media during the week.
Half of accidental drownings happened in 2017 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.
• 255 people accidentally drowned in the UK
• Around 50% of these people just happened to be near water
• About 85% of these fatalities were male
• In addition 75 UK nationals, mainly tourists, drowned whilst abroad in 2017
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.”
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 waters edge
- Make sure conditions are safe, avoid walking or running near water in the dark, 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 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
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.
Note to Editors;
Fatality statistics from the National Water Safety Forum’s Water Incident Database (WAID) and FOI FCO Ref 1149-18The National Water Safety Forum (NWSF) is the UK body which represents UK organisations with an interest in water safety and is committed to reducing drowning fatalities. With a core of around 40 organisations and a network of a further 300.