As the warm weather sends people in search of outdoor swimming venues and places to cool off, Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service (DFRS) has issued a timely reminder about water safety.
Drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental death in the UK, and the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) is running a national Be Water Aware drowning prevention and water safety campaign April 23-29.
Echoing the message, DFRS station manager John Cooke said: “Each year more than 300 people drown after tripping, falling or just by underestimating the risks associated with being near water and many more people are left with life changing injuries in water related incidents.
“We will be raising awareness of the risks associated with being near open water. Throughout the week firefighters and community safety officers will be attending Derby University, Trent Lock and Mercia Marina highlighting these dangers so people can enjoy the water safely and not end up as one of these shocking statistics.”
Dawn Whittaker, NFCC spokesman and East Sussex Chief Fire Officer, added: “Most people would be shocked to hear that those people drowning just happen to be near water such as runners and walkers.
“They are unaware of the risks and are totally 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 deaths.”
As part of the campaign, the NFCC has issued five essential pieces of advice.
First, if you are going for a walk or run near water stick to proper pathways and stay clear of the water’s edge.
Second, make sure conditions are safe, avoid walking or running near water in the dark, slippery or in bad weather.
Third, if you have consumed alcohol do not enter the water, avoid walking alone and avoid routes near water.
Fourth, 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.
Finally, if you are spending time near water—whether at home or abroad—make sure you are familiar with local safety information.