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.
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 some fun….who jump into freezing water without allowing their body to acclimatise and so avoid Cold water shock ….people who have been drinking 🍷🍻🍸 and think a dip is a good idea without realising that their perceptions of danger and ability to respond have been changed by the alcohol, ….people who think they can swim…but do not know the open water they are entering and have not thought about getting out nor assessed the dynamics of the water.
We hope that by campaigning and raising awareness we can help improve understanding and reduce the number of deaths in water in the UK and save the families and friends the heartache.
Please join in by sharing our messages on social media and also check out the information on ROSPA, RNLI and RLSS websites about water safety.
Compeled to add a second January blog
How is it possible to be an adult and make such poor decisions and set such a poor example for children and even put them directly in danger?
This last week or so has seen a cold snap in the U.K. and resulting freeze up of surface water….it’s fun as a kid to don wellies and holding a parents hand on a country walk to jump in those totally frozen little puddles on the country lane and around the park and smash the thin ice……but that is a far cry from a couple of the images we have seen and the media have reported on this week. Most chilling the newspaper picture of a man carrying a small child walking out onto the surface of a frozen pond……what was he thinking?….Well actually he can’t have thought at all…..and the response on social media was inevitable , some calling for the man to be identified.
I deal with many parents of victims of drownings and a very common thing I hear amoungst the pain and grief is a wish they had known more about the dangers of drowning, spoken to their kids and warned them…the same way they had drilled road safety into them for example….and when some of those parents saw the above image…needless to say they were shocked and angry.
This week I was also contacted by one of my staff, a Watch Manager from one of the Fire Stations and he wanted to know if we could get some posters or signs to put up at a local venue after lots of kids….with their parents ….had been seen walking out onto a surface frozen pond …and one had fallen through, though safely recovered…..he was worried that someone may get hurt or worse.
In the UK it is unlikely that the surface freeze will be deep enough to withstand the body weight of an adult for much more than just a few feet ..it’s simply not cold enough….but the thing is you do not know how deep or strong the freeze is, so why take the risk? And worse still why risk a child ? …..the phrase “skating on thin ice”… means taking a real risk with poor odds…and that is precisely what this is.
Stay off frozen ponds, lakes and rivers and warn your children …we don’t want to have to be called to recover them from a situation that is COMPLETELY avoidable and preventable. Go to an ice rink or Syberia if you want to learn to ice skate!
Happy 2017…I hope it’s a happy, safe and healthy year for you.
For many going back to work this week after enjoying a seasonal break and time with family with lots of rich food and gifts ..it means a return to the routine….for emergency services, it’s just another day…for some families the season of goodwill and celebration has been spoiled for ever…
I won’t highlight the individual cases of those that have been lost to car accidents, fires in the home or drowning over the last two weeks…a short social media or internet search will find them….but I do want to pause and say that some of the comments posted on these newspaper and media stories are extremely shocking and damaging.
The families and friends of those lost to accidents are suffering enough, why do some people, usually with pseudonyms, choose to make such heartless comments? The reality is that some of the fatalities and injuries will have been caused by the victims own actions, too much speed, too much alcohol, a lark that turns to tragedy ….the facts are the facts…but that does not change the impact on the family…they have lost someone they loved…or they are injured and will never be the same again…..so why do others seek to make it worse for them with some “smart-arse” comment ? It makes me so cross.
A more productive use of time or opinion is to raise awareness and help prevent accidents …in Brighton in the two weeks running upto Christmas, the police, fire service, Lifeguards, coast guards and other agencies went out along the front and beach and into the clubs at night, in party season, to chat to people and raise awareness about the effects of alcohol. A local taxi firm was offering their services at reduced rates to get people home safely and some volunteers were offering “walk homes” to the local party-goers that were worse for wear….they were reducing potential incidents…
So if you have bothered to read this and know someone who makes negative comments on social media and on newspaper posts ….ask them to make a New Years resolution and either stop doing it or do something more proactive…help save a life not add to someone else’s misery.