Day 6 -BeWaterAware – Missing after a night out…the families

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Yesterday the focus of this blog was young drinkers and the facts and statistics associated with drowning, today we will focus on the truth behind the data…..the human story behind these incidents and the safety advice a few families want to share

Yesterday in making the point that many people, either in the past or perhaps fairly recently  have had a drop too much alcohol on a night out, perhaps just when socialising or maybe celebrating an event …..what I was beginning to emphasise was the potential for risk of an accident or injury is quite common.

Over the years, in working with families impacted by the loss of a loved one as a result of drowning, one of the hardest things to see is when others pass judgement on the casualty and make hurtful comments on social media when they are aware the individual has been drinking….some examples …’He was drunk, so it was his fault’…..‘ take the risk, pay the price’ ….’yet another p****d student who has wasted tax payers money’….sometimes I respond to such comments when I see them as they infuriate me, not only because of the lack of human empathy for the bereaved family, who often read their comments whilst grieving….but also because of their ignorance of the full facts of the incident….often the contributory facts are far from simple…..think for a moment….the young women who had her drink spiked in the club, the young man who had tried to get home in a taxi/bus, but was refused passage because he had been drinking, the young person whose friends had dared them to skinny dip after a skin full, the young man who was unfamiliar with the area and in the dark stepped of the path into the river which had no railings….some of these real cases where not about the choices the casualty made …although they did choose to have a few drinks….the contributory factors are sometimes about the behaviours of others….worth thinking about perhaps before passing comments on social media reports of a fatality

The bravery of a bereaved family to speak up or contribute to one of many campaigns to improve water safety or prevent drowning is very significant…and what is their motivation to do that? I can assure you it does not help them to deal with their grief when they get such reactions (above)…but they do it because they do not want to think their loved one died in vain…nor see another family experience the pain they are feeling, they want simple safeguards to be put in place…they want to warn, inform and educate others about just how frequently this happens and reality that one night out can end a life and devastate a family.

The National Fire Chiefs Council and other members of the National Water Safety Forum are grateful to the families that have contributed their voices to the #BeWaterAware #DontDrinkandDrown #RespecttheWater and other campaigns and we are all hopeful that hearing a few of these stories makes people think about their own behaviours…..whether it’s the people in the night club who throw out a person who has had too much to drink without a care for their safety, the predators who spike drinks of young women, the landowners who could improve the safety of their sites for minimal cost to reduce risk, the pubs that serve cheap shots and continue to serve drinks to people who have had too much, the mates that dare their friends to do something dangerous…because it will be a laugh, to the taxi, bus drivers who have refused safe passage hope to someone just because they have been drinking (they are not being sick or aggressive) ……just watch and listen

Daniel’s story

Charlie’s Story

Shane’s story

Megan’s story…and other families impact by a drowning….not connected to alcohol

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