Day 7- #BeWaterAware – When Normality Returns

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Today is the final day of the NFCC campaign for 2020…..but the messages shared and water safety work will continue through the year.

The campaign planned theme for today was “Away from Home” and of course in normal circumstances on a sunny Sunday at the end of April many families would probably have been heading out to the coast or for a day out in the countryside…..but not at the moment  hopefully, as we should all be complying with the guidance to stay home and not make any journey that is not essential.

The messages that many have shared and adapted in the current climate about taking care when going out for your one permitted daily exercise have been good …and it may seem to you a bit odd that today I am choosing to highlight holidays and foreign travel, but there is a reason……..I suspect that when we see the lockdown lifted….even if that doesn’t start for a month or two…people will be desperate to get out and have trips….either staycations or when air travel opens up…to have a holiday. I also suspect that places like Spain, Portugal, Turkey will be desperate to attract British visitors back and there maybe some fantastic value deals on offer….so because of that I think it’s important to prepare and make you aware

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In 2018 77 UK nationals drowned abroad, 70% of that number were tourists and critically it’s important to know that many more children are involved in drowning instances abroad than at home …in swimming pools. That last statistic is important if you are taking children on holiday and planning lots of pool time, which they love, but there are some important points…the regulations that related to pool safety are not as strict in some countries, you may want to check if the resort you are choosing has a lifeguard or pool attendant on duty and most importantly…when you go, supervise and watch children when they are in water.

A couple of years ago a colleague of mine was abroad on holiday with his own family…he  works in the emergency services, so he is trained to be tuned into risk and assessment of situations. At the poolside one day, he and his partner were taking it in turns to relax in the sun and watch their children in the pool and whilst he was “on watch” he observed a developing situation……he ran to the pool, dived in and saved a life. What had happened ….a young girl that he didn’t know, with long hair had been enjoying herself in the pool and had decided to do an underwater handstand ….sadly she was close to an underwater vent for the filtration system and it sucked her hair into the vent, so strongly that she could not get free and was trapped …she would have drowned if my colleague had not been watching and reacted quickly to save her ………it’s that simple.

In 2018 we saw 243 accidental drownings occur in UK, whilst in Spain there were 473 and 25% of that number were foreign nationals ….of which the highest % were from UK. These are just facts and not intended to put anyone off going to Spain with their family as it’s a wonderful country, with friendly people and with some really good value packages….what it is intended to do is raise awareness and encourage people to #BeWaterAware even when on holiday….make some enquires before you book with your travel agent or the venue about pool safety, whilst on holiday you must supervise your children and keep an eye on them as accidents can happen so easily and also when you are at the beach….home or away….please do not use inflatables in the sea….it’s not safe unless you have them secured by a rope being held by an adult, as tides and off shore breeze can so quickly take them out to sea.  I know the 🦢 swans, flamingo 🦩 and unicorns 🦄 floats and inflatables look fun, but they are only safe in pools and by law should be marked as unsafe for use in the sea……much better to spend your money on a buoyancy aid or flotation aid for your kids, which will help keep them safer while they have fun in the water.

Finally, as this is the last day of the campaign…I want to say a huge thanks to everyone who has contributed and those that have shared messages and the fantastic organisations that help us all be safer in the water in the UK ….there are many of those …but in particular ROSPA, RNLI, RLSS and our wonderful Coastguards and Lifeguards out on the sharp end. I also want to pay a heartfelt tribute once again to the families that have been impacted by a drowning that use their stories and voices to raise awareness 💙 and the VERY last thank you I have is for my colleagues in the UK Fire and Rescue Services and NFCC media team who produce and deliver this campaign…you are water safety warriors and you are helping to save lives 💙

#BeWaterAware  #StaySafe   #StayHome   #ProtecttheNHS

 

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