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Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service provides water rescue training in Pangbourne Meadows

As part of Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service’s (RBFRS) #WaterWise safety campaign, a water safety event took place today at Pangbourne Meadows, next to Whitchurch Bridge in Berkshire.

Staff from Thames Valley Police, Pangbourne Parish Council, young people from Adventure Dolphin and members of the local community received training on how to use a throw line – a rescue device which can be thrown to someone in difficulty in the water.

Firefighters from Caversham Road Fire Station (Green Watch) were also on hand to explain the dangers of swimming in open bodies of water, including cold water shock, and provided a live demonstration of the ‘Float to Live’ technique in the nearby River Thames.

Neil Whiteman, Community Safety Advisor, RBFRS, said: “We are urging people to take care around Berkshire’s waterways this year. These events provide a valuable opportunity to share water safety advice with our partners in the emergency services.

“There are numerous natural and man-made hazards located in our waterways, such as varying water currents, weirs, reed beds and dangerous objects beneath the surface that have been carelessly discarded.

“Cold water is another hazard that can have serious consequences and can endanger even the strongest swimmers. Even on a warm day the temperature in open water can remain very cold, causing cold water shock.

“If you do see someone in difficulty remember ‘Call, Tell and Throw – Call 999, tell the person to float on their back and throw something to them to help them float.”

Commenting on today’s event Becky Elkin, Pangbourne Parish Council said: “We are really pleased to be working with Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service and Thames Valley Police today at Pangbourne Meadows.

“The meadows are a really popular spot for picnicking, sunbathing, and all manner of water sports and boating. The beautiful Whitchurch Bridge is also a concern for us as it is a spot where our young people regularly jump into the water from.

“There can be unseen hazards under the water and the danger of cold water shock is always present. It’s great to be able to work with the services and help the local community learn how to use our life saving rescue equipment safely and effectively and we are pleased to have so many people here today.”