Christmas is meant to be a special time to share with loved ones, but for the family of Ross Irwin, it will be a tragic reminder of their loss.
Ross is thought to have fallen in the river after a night out with work colleagues in Sunderland on 23 December 2016. It is thought he went through a small gap in a fence by the river bank to urinate and fell down the drop straight into the ice cold river. His body was found on Christmas Eve about 100 yards from where he fell in.
His heartbroken father Dave is a Crew Manager for Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service who said:
"We never expected anything like this to happen. It has left us utterly shattered. If I can manage to stop this tragedy from ever happening again, I am willing to talk about this incident to anybody who is willing to listen."
As the party season begins in earnest in December, Humberside Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS) is keen to remind those on a night out around Hull, Beverley, Bridlington, Grimsby or Scunthorpe to be extra vigilant around the region's waterways or seafronts. Areas around the marina and river in Hull, the harbour in Bridlington or The Barge in Grimsby are amongst particular areas of concern.
There was an average of 72 accidental drownings in the UK per year from 2012-16 which involved alcohol or drugs. Males were most at risk and 45% of victims were aged 17-29.
HFRS kicked off the week's campaign with an exercise in Hull's Princes Dock alongside the shopping centre. Crews from Clough Road, Calvert Lane and Central with a water rescue exercise with a scenario involving intoxicated youths getting into a scuffle at the end of a night out around the Old Town. One of group ended up in the water and then two friends jumped in to 'rescue' him - never a good idea! Cold water shock can kill.
The crews carried out 'Exercise Chilli Dip' with a dummy and 'live' casualties. Launch, recovery, MWR and First Aid / Trauma Care were all put to the test.
Exercise co-ordinator WM Frank Johnson was pleased with how the drill went:
"It was great to showcase our skills to the passing public out doing their Christmas shopping and raise awareness of the Royal Life Saving Society's campaign. If the public stay vigilant and away from the water's edge this festive season, then hopefully we won't have to do this for real."