Did you see the title… The 80’s firefighter, because in the 1980’s we were the first to become firefighters opposed to the firemen of the 70’s, 60’s, 50’s and so on. Because for the first time women became operational firefighters in London and across the UK. This generation also witnessed the biggest advances in equipment […]
Waters in the UK are rarely anything other than cold, even in the summer….but at this time of the year they are VERY cold. It is really important that people know the impact this will have on the body causing Gasp reflex, followed by incapacity and potentially if you are in the water for too long, hypothermia.
Prof Mike Tipton of Portsmouth University has been involved in research on this for many years and has supported the emergency services and RNLI with advice campaigns…please do take a look at the FLOAT TO LIVE advice as part of the RNLI RESPECT THE WATER campaign and also the RLSS advice for runners and walkers
At this time of the year it’s also important to drop in a reminder about taking care on ice….every year the emergency services have to rescue people who have gone onto ice to rescue an animal …and sadly the consequences are often that the dog gets out and is fine, but the result for the person are different …..
if you see a person or animal in difficulty in water
firstly call 9️⃣9️⃣9️⃣🆘☎️ And at the coast/beach as for the coastguard and in inland ask for Fire and Rescue and give them your location as clearly as you can…leave your Mbl on as they can trace your location
then shout for help from passers by
if possible and without endangering yourself try and throw something that will float to the casualty or use a branch to try and reach them if that is feasible
shout to the person and encourage them to turn on their back and float so that their airway is out of the water.
Finally….if you have you children, or people that are not stable on their feet with you, make sure you keep them away from the waters edge to avoid accidental falls into the water.
January 31st 2018 saw the formal launch of Water Safety Scotland’s new Drowning Prevention strategy in the Scottish Parliament ( WSS is a partnership of organisations who want to promote water safety and reduce drowning in Scotland)
This is an important next step from the UK DPS launch in Feb 2016 as it makes specific objectives and commitments that are relevant to communities and Education in Scotland as a devolved area……my congratulations to all that have been involved in getting that work done to raise awareness and reduce water related fatalities in Scotland
January has also been significant for another reason…you may have seen Birds Eye ( food manufacturers) launched a new campaign for the new face of Captain Birdseye…..however it made a splash for all the wrong reasons ….and our water safety network mobilised and contacted Birds Eye to explain the problems with their advert …and THEY LISTENED….totally fantastic. I am so hugely proud of what the NFCC water safety practioners are achieving and the support from the UK NWSF network wider network too
So …planning is now well underway as we have agreed the themes for the NFCC 2018 Water Safety and Drowning prevention week and the date…wk comm 23rd April…a date for diaries
I am playing catch up with my blogs…I missed October and November, but with valid reasons. In October I was focused on applying for and thankfully successfully securing the CFO/CEO position in East Sussex. I am very proud to lead such a great organisation and a fantastic team. In November I had a birthday milestone and my treat was 3 weeks in New Zealand, what a fantastic place, so much space and amazing scenery and a much needed battery recharge after a long summer without a break.
December 4th saw the start of the seasonal RLSS “Don’t Drink and Drown” Campaign, during which many agencies seek to raise awareness about the dangers of ending up in water (intentionally or not) after drinking alcohol. The facts speak for themselves…each year around a third of adults who drown have alcohol in their system.
Alcohol can inhibit your judgement, you are less aware of risk and more likely to do things which put yourself and others in danger. Alcohol can slow your reaction times. Alcohol alters your behaviour…some become more agressive, some become more extrovert, some drowsy….so those are just facts that are well known….now consider a drunk person falling in or deciding to swim in a cold river or the sea….it’s a recipe for disaster.
This year the increased interest and partnership work has been really tangible…the Canal and River Trust, RNLI, lifeguards, police, Fire and Rescue and SAR organisations have held many events during the week and spoke to thousands of bars and club staff, students, party go-ers. Also the press have got behind the campaign in a much bigger way, which is fantastic.
It is really difficult to know for a fact if this work saves lives, if anyone alters their actions as a result, but we do know that at least more people are aware and can make a choice. We don’t want to stop the fun…we just want to reduce drowning.
while on the subject…..it’s not of course just Alcohol and Water…..at this time of the year we see Drink/Drive campaigns ( i can’t believe in 2017 that people still get behind the wheel of a car after drinking…but it prove the facts above…alcohol leads to poor decisions) ….also this time of year we see an increase in Domestic violence …often drink fuelled …and in accidental kitchen fires…particularly when people get home late and start cooking something after drinking!
We all love to celebrate, we all want to take part in seasonal cheer…but just ask yourself if that means you have to drink to excess and possibly put your own or others lives at risk….is any party worth that?
RLSS 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.
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
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 swimming.org 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 respectthewater.com
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