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Stay safe around water to prevent needless deaths

Published
27.04.2021

Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service (GFRS) is supporting a national campaign urging people to stay safe around water.

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As national COVID-19 restrictions ease and weather improves, more people are expected to head to coastal locations and water beauty spots.

The ‘Be Water Aware’ campaign, led by the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), is running this week (26 April to 2 May) and aims to prevent accidental drownings and injuries.

More people died in 2019 from accidental drowning than cyclists did on the road, so GFRS is reminding people to be aware of the risks when spending time in and around water.

Following safety advice will help to reduce the 223 accidental drownings reported in 2019 and the many injuries, which can be life-changing, suffered as a result of water-related incidents.

The advice includes:

  • Never swim alone in case you need help
  • Don’t drink alcohol before going in the water as it impairs judgement and your ability to swim
  • Avoid walking routes near water if you have been drinking alcohol
  • Don’t dive or jump straight into open water as it can potentially cause fatal cold water shock
  • Actively supervise children in and around water
  • If you find yourself unexpectedly in the water, don’t panic – extend your arms and legs out and float on your back until the effect of cold water shock passes
  • Never enter the water to try to rescue someone; call 999 and ask for the Fire Service if inland and the Coastguard if you are at the coast

Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service Prevention Manager Donna Potts said: “In Gloucestershire we have lots of beautiful waterside walks and places to enjoy having more sociable time as we follow the government’s roadmap out of lockdown, but if someone fell into the water, would you know what to do? Water Safety Week is about spreading the message to #BeWaterAware.”

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.”

Look out for #BeWaterAware on social media and you can also find more information and advice here: www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/glosfire/your-safety/safety-outdoors/water-safety/

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