Service supports campaign to prevent accidental drowning

25/04/2017

​Runners, dog walkers, students and anglers are the focus of a campaign this week aimed at raising awareness of accidental drowning.

321 people across the UK died as a result of accidental drowning in 2015, and in Nottinghamshire, firefighters and members of the Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) Prevention Team will be out and about in locations including Retford, Newark, Gunthorpe, West Bridgford and Nottingham City Centre to give out safety tips and advice.

The campaign, which has been organised country-wide by the National Fire Chiefs Council, will see different fire and rescue services across the country taking part to target the groups most at risk from accidental drowning.

Crews will be demonstrating a water rescue on the River Trent in Newark, engaging with local communities to identify hazards and how to avoid them, educating students on risks, as well as working with other agencies including the Environment Agency to give out advice at key risk locations.

Group Manager Bryn Coleman, Head of Prevention at NFRS, said: "Half of accidental drownings nationally are people who never had any intention of entering the water, such as those walking or jogging, and it is really important that we spread the message both locally and nationally.

"While we are a relatively land-locked county, many people from Nottinghamshire go on holiday to the seaside, and our advice is just as important if you don't fall into one of the most at risk groups.

"Our advice is to always be aware of your surroundings, particularly if you are walking or running close to water you should look out for unstable river or cliff banks and hazard signs, and should avoid walking or running close to the edge and in the dark.

"For young people who have been drinking, always make sure to stay in a group and avoid walking along river footpaths, even if they are lit. If you fall in the water after drinking, your chances of getting out are decreased due to alcohol impairing even the simplest of body actions. I would like to urge everyone to take care and look out of hazards, as well as those in danger."

Bryn added that it is not just those in the at-risk groups who should take note, and explained that the Service is particularly keen to appeal to those who may come across someone who has fallen in the water.

"Many people might be surprised that our advice is to never enter the water to try to save someone and to always call 999. We hope that this campaign will encourage people to think about their safety around water and take steps to prevent themselves from becoming a statistic," said Bryn.

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