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Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service (WFRS) is urging residents across the county to stay safe around water this summer

Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service (WFRS) is urging residents across the county to stay safe around water this summer as they join forces with The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) for Drowning Prevention Week (17th – 23rd June 2024). 

During the summer accidental drowning fatalities increase. 100 children under 18 have lost their lives to drowning in the UK in the last 5 years (WAID 2017-2021).  
61 of these children drowned in June, July or August, where we see increasing air and water temperatures and children have more free time during the school holidays. From 1st April 2022 to March 2024, there have been 8 drowning incidents in Warwickshire. 

The national Drowning Prevention Week campaign highlights the dangers of open water and aims to reduce the number of accidental drownings and focusses particularly on educating young people about the dangers of open water. RLSS figures show that due to the pandemic, close to 2 million young people missed out on the vital opportunity to swim, leaving a dramatic gap in school swimming and water safety education.  

WFRS urges caution around Warwickshire’s waterways, hot spots such as St. Nicholas Park and the Saxon Mill in Warwick and quarries in Rugby and Nuneaton are all areas that can present hidden hazards, and WFRS encourages the public to be vigilant and prioritise safety.  

Councillor Andy Crump, Portfolio Holder for Fire and Rescue and Community Safety said: “Drowning is a preventable tragedy, and WFRS is committed to working with our community to raise awareness of water safety. With summer approaching and the temptation to cool off in open water increasing, it’s vital that residents understand the dangers and take steps to stay safe. Please enjoy our beautiful waterways responsibly, and remember – if in doubt, stay out.” 

 WFRS Drowning Prevention – Top Tips 

  • Educate young people around the risks of open water. 
  • Cold water shock can kill, walking into the water rather than jumping in can help reduce the risk. 
  • Always supervise children closely around water.  
  • Never swim alone, especially in open water.  
  • Learn to swim properly and only swim in designated areas.  
  • Be aware of cold-water shock. 
  • If you see someone in trouble, don’t enter the water yourself. Call 999 immediately and ask for the fire service and ambulance, encourage the casualty to try and float on their back and if there is rescue equipment nearby throw it to them.  

For more water safety advice and free water safety resources, to give children the skills to enjoy a lifetime of fun in the water visit: www.rlss.org.uk/DPW 

Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service has more information on water safety on their website https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/fire-safety-home/water-safety/2 

Published: 17th June 2024

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