“Had he called 999, he could have been here today giving us this advice,” were the words of a mother speaking at the launch of a joint education package to raise awareness of water safety, following the death of her son last summer.
Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) has come together with Nicola Jenkins to launch the package based on Owen’s story, who lost his life at Beeston Weir on 10 July last year.
Owen had been out with friends when he entered the water to save someone, which sadly resulted in the loss of his life.
Now, almost one year on, the package has been launched to educate young people about what to do if you see someone in danger, as well as how to use lifesaving equipment such as throwlines.
Students attending from The Chilwell School where Owen was a student gained insight from the Service’s Education Team into the hazards of water and how rescues are carried out, as well as from a local leisure centre L Leisure who explained what happens when you fall into or enter the water.
Virtual reality sets were used to simulate a water rescue and show different water locations and their hazards across Nottinghamshire and the group also made a 999 call to Fire Control to learn about how to call the emergency services and the advice they would give if you call for help.
Firefighter Dean Jukes from the NFRS Education Team has worked on the education package, and said: “Today has been a really positive experience, and we have educated 12 young people from the Chilwell area on water safety.
“It’s really important for us as a Service that people are aware that while it may be your instinct to enter the water to save someone, one casualty can easily become two, and you don’t want to be in the position where you yourself get into difficulty and there is nobody to help.
“Our advice is to firstly always call 999 and ask for the fire service, and today the students had a real-life interaction with Fire Control who simulated a real-life call about a water rescue, and it really brought home to everyone the importance of calling us in the event of an emergency.
“We would also always advise you to look around for life saving equipment like throwlines if you see someone in the water, and we taught the students how to use this, as well as alternatives that can be used if there is no equipment in the area.
“We had some really positive feedback from everyone involved and what we would really like to remind everyone is to be aware, be safe, and most importantly, remember our advice.”
Nicola Jenkins is now hoping to roll the programme out further, and, said: “It’s now almost one year since we lost Owen, and I will never forget the day that I found out he had been found in the water.
“He has been called a hero for his actions in saving his friends, but what I want to get out of this education package is making people aware that if you go into the water, you are putting yourself in danger.
“This is a fantastic way for Owen’s legacy to live on and I hope that all those involved will be his voice and spread the safety messages.”