As the current Covid-19 restrictions ease, it is anticipated many people will head to coastal locations and inland water beauty spots.
Few people would think they might become a water incident statistic but the fact is in the UK in 2019, 223 people died from accidental drowning.
The National Fire Chiefs Council’s (NFCC) Be Water Aware campaign is running from 26th April - 2nd May. Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service is taking part to encourage people not to be complacent when spending time in and around water. The aim is to encourage people to be safe by being aware of the risks.
Kieran Amos, Chief Fire Officer for Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “Of the 223 deaths in 2019, 44% of these people just happened to be near water and had no intention of entering the water which goes to show that people can find themselves unexpectedly at risk.
“Following simple advice will help reduce the deaths and many more injuries, which can be lifechanging, after water related incidents. There are some small things people can do to protect themselves and others. For instance, never swim alone in case you need help, don’t drink alcohol when undertaking water related activities as it impairs judgement and your ability to swim and don’t dive or jump straight into open water as this can cause potentially fatal cold water shock even on the warmest day.”
The Fire Chiefs Council’s advice also states that members of the public should not enter the water to try and rescue someone but should instead call 999 and ask for the Fire Service if inland and the Coastguard if at the coast.
NFCC’s Drowning Prevention Lead Dawn Whittaker said: “We want people to enjoy spending time in and around water safely and that’s why we are asking people to be water aware. By highlighting this issue and making sure simple safety messages reach them, we hope to reduce the number of these needless and preventable deaths.”
Members of the public can stay up to date by searching for #BeWaterAware on social media or visiting www.nationalfirechiefs.org.uk/Be-Water-Aware for more information and advice.