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Be water aware!

Published: 1/4/2021

As the current Covid-19 restrictions ease it is anticipated many people will head to coastal locations and inland water beauty spots.

Few people would think they might become a water incident statistic. But the fact is in the UK in 2019 more people died from
accidental drowning than cyclists did on the road.

The National Fire Chiefs Council’s (NFCC) are encouraging people not to be complacent when spending time in and around water. The aim is to encourage people to be safe by being aware of the risks.

Following simple advice will help reduce the 223 accidental drownings reported in 2019 and the many more injuries, which can be
lifechanging, following water related incidents.

• Never swim alone in case you need help
• Don’t drink alcohol when undertaking water related activities, 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, this can cause potentially fatal cold water shock even on the warmest day
• Actively supervise children in and around water – drowning can happen fast and silently
• 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 and rescue someone, call 999 and ask for the Fire Service if inland and the Coastguard if you are at the coast

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.”

This page was last updated on 26/04/2021