Humberside Fire and Rescue Service is supporting the National Fire Chiefs Council's (NFCC) Be Water Aware drowning prevention campaign. The campaign runs from 20 - 26 April 2020 and will be encouraging people to stay safe near water.
Half of accidental drownings in the UK occur when people didn't intend to go in the water, so simple steps to raise awareness of the risks around
water and how they can be reduced will help prevent these deaths.
With the current Covid-19 guidelines in place, daily exercise is becoming more important than ever. Seemingly more joggers and dog walkers are taking different and sometimes longer routes, often by water courses such as canals, rivers or lakes. These are the routes which present the most danger.
• 263 people accidentally drowned in the UK
• Around 50% of these people just happened to be near water and had no intention of entering the water
• 87% of these fatalities were male
• 77 UK nationals, mainly tourists, drowned whilst abroad in 2018
NFCC's Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Lead, Chief Fire Officer Dawn Whittaker, said:
"We want people to enjoy spending time in and around water safely. Most people would be shocked to hear 263 people lost their lives last year while spending time near water because they were unaware of the risks and unprepared for the scenario of ending up in the water.
By highlighting this issue and making sure simple safety messages reach them, we hope to reduce the number of these needless and preventable deaths."
Humberside Fire and Rescue Service advice:
- Make sure your walk or run is appropriate for your fitness level even if you are just taking a leisurely stroll
- Never enter the water to try and help a person or animal - always call 999 and use any water rescue equipment if it is available
- Consider joining a running or walking group
- Be aware and take notice of any warning signs
- When running or walking next to water, stay clear of the edges
- River banks and cliff edges may be unstable and give way - particularly after bad weather
- Wear appropriate footwear and clothing - even if you are just going to stretch your legs
- Take a fully charged mobile phone and check signal strength, know how to use it and who to call in an emergency (999 Fire or Coastguard
- depending on where you are)
- Look out for trip or slip hazards - pay attention to your footing
- Stick to proper pathways
- Don't walk or run next to water if levels are high
- Make sure you know exactly where you are - consider something like an OS locate app for a smart phone or a map
- Don't assume just because you have walked or run a route many times before it is still safe
- Avoid walking or running near water in the dark