IMG_4066RLSS UK want all new students starting University this September to have a fantastic Freshers week…together with many Uni and Fire and Rescue Services we also want to remind students to avoid open water when they have been drinking as alcohol inhibits judgment and reactions and EVERY YEAR we see too many deaths in water caused by drinking.

simple tips

1. Find an alternative safe route back to Halls of residence or your digs …choose a well lit route away from river edges and canals.

2. Stay in a group and look out for each other…do not get separated

3. Maybe pre-book a taxi after a night out  – many firms do a student rate  …it might only mean a few less sherbets if you club together

4. Skinny dipping on a cold September night after a skin full is NOT a good idea and could end your life instead of the night out






Time flies

I know it’s never good when you have to start with an apology…but…I am afraid I missed writing a July blog…I do have a reason, I have been a bit busy with high rise buildings, but that does not mean that drowning prevention work has been neglected.

In July I attended the quarterly National Water Safety Forum meeting in London and also provided an written update to the NFCC Prevention Committee on the work of Drowning Prevention in Fire and Rescue Services…so lots has been happening. The next meeting of the NFCC Water Safety Board is coming up next week in Hampshire on the 17th and we are looking forward to a presentation from colleagues in Devon and Somerset of their new virtual reality drowning prevention film which we are hoping can be rolled out across uk FRS

August is an important month for Drowning Prevention in the U.K. as lots more people head on their holidays and get to the coast and camping sites and indeed enjoy water based activities….there is unfortunately also an increase in the number of water related incidents every year in this month and so far it’s true to form…I am still checking figures and statistics with other agencies at the moment, but I am aware of at least 8 fatalities in water so far this month on the South coast alone, several swimmers too which is unusual as the vast majority of people that drown in the UK are not those that intended to be in the water.

Put simply, I want people to enjoy the water…safely. This means people being aware of the risks and their own capability and also being aware of what to do when someone is in difficulty.

There are two pieces of work I want to bring to your attention

1. The recently published Swim England, swimming group report focused on improving swimming and water safety in schools. It makes interesting reading and 16 recommendations to Government  …go to to download the full report

2. The RNLI run a summer campaign every year called RESPECT THE WATER…it has focused historically on awareness raising about alcohol, cold water shock and safety…this year it’s called FLOAT and the campaign seeks to help you to know what to do if you get into difficulties….it focuses on fighting your instincts to try and swim out of difficulty, but rather to float, stay calm and seek help…check out the RNLI site and look for

I will end there …but wish all my blog readers a safe and enjoyable summer holiday..remember to ensure you and your family are #bewateraware





June 16th sees the start of the Royal Life Saving Society’s annual Drowning Prevention Week Campaign…lots of activities and social media planned to raise awareness …so please do join in…lots of Fire and Rescue Services will also be joining in or holding demonstrations next week.

This week I had the pleasure of attending a launch event with presentation aimed specifically at young people at high schools….it’s called “Water Savvy, Water Safe” and designed on the back of the successful “Safe Drive, Stay Alive” programme…and in partnership between the Fire Service and RLSS, with delivery support from other agencies. Trial feedback has been really positive, so we hope it will be a programme that helps improve water safety, help awareness and understanding and help drive better risk awareness…all we all want is for people to enjoy water safely #bewateraware and reduce the number of injuries and fatalities.


Fire and Water

Worth a read …a thoughtful perspective

Multilayered musings from new normality


When you are a young parent you are very aware of school years and ages.  It’s surprising how fast this fades and at the meeting I attended at the East Sussex Fire and Rescue HQ this week, I had to ask the age of children in years five and six, because I had forgotten. (It’s age 9-11, by the way).

In loss terms, this being the twelfth year since we lost James, I am a Year Twelve.  That equates to the age of 16/17; to all intents and purposes an age of discovery, development and burgeoning maturity.

Sitting in that meeting room in Eastbourne, I found myself wondering what, if I was truly a Year Twelve, I would see today that is different from what James saw when he himself was in Year Twelve, with regards to safety generally, and water safety specifically.


The word cloud above, generated entirely from…

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NFCC #BeWaterAware

Today is Day 6 of the 2017 campaign that sees Fire and Rescue Services in the U.K. Working with partners to raise awareness about water safety.

We have focused our campaign on three main areas

1. Targeting awareness messages to those that we know from analysis of several years figures that are at highest risk from drowning and these are mainly people that had not planned to enter the water…walkers, runners, dog owners, anglers and those on a night out enjoying a drink or two.

2. Events to educate people, particularly children about staying safe, how to use throwlines, what to do if someone needs help and not to enter the water themselves…also encouraging them to learn to swim and improve their skills.

3. Demonstrations of the kit and equipment that we use for Rescue and also some demonstrations of rescues by our highly trained water rescue teams.


We work very closely with the RLSS, RNLI, MCA, ROSPA and other agencies and local clubs to help reduce Drowning because every year we see around 350/ 400 accidents in the U.K. that result in drowning …and of course the impacts go beyond that…people are injured, but survive…families are devastated, the cost of rescue and medical care goes up.

We want people to enjoy being in, on and by the water safely.

Date for the diary…24 April

Please do take a look at the #BeWaterAware campaign on social media



24th April sees the start of the CFOA campaign week for Drowning Prevention and Water safety…and Fire and Rescue Services across the U.K. will be working with other agencies to promote increased public safety around water.

Many people love the water, whether it’s getting in, on, or walking by it…Our beaches, lakes, canals and rivers become busy places when the weather is nice and we want people to enjoy the water safely.

Unfortunately every year in the UK around 400 people accidentally loose their lives in water and many more have to be rescued or suffer injuries.

There are some obvious basic and common sense precautions to take and we will be sharing those, but more than that we will be targeting our messages at the groups of individuals who are most likely to loose their lives in water…young men between 15 and 29 that are going in the water for…

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