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27 April 2016

Water safety advice for Drowning Prevention Week

Water Safety

The campaign is raising awareness of everyday dangers of being near water and fire and rescue services will be asking people to ‘Be Water Aware’ in order to reduce the number of fatalities.

Drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental death in the UK. A total of 302 people accidentally drowned in 2014 - 44% of these people were taking part in everyday activities such as walking or running near water. By following some simple advice, you can reduce your risk of ending up in the water.

Cumbria County Council Chief Fire Officer Paul Hancock said: “Being near water is often perceived as a low risk activity while water-based activities are considered high risk. But statistics show that’s not the case. People shouldn’t assume they’re not at risk of drowning just because they don’t intend to go in the water.”

CFOA’s Water Safety Lead, Dawn Whittaker, said: “Most people would be shocked to hear that those people drowning just happen to be near water such as runners, walkers and fishermen.  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.”

Safety advice:

•       Never fool around near water - you might trip and fall in.
•       Take care on riverbanks - they may be slippery or unstable.
•       Go with a friend if you’re going swimming, fishing or boating.
•       They can help - or get help - if you’re in trouble in difficult water.

Working as part of the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF), CFOA aims to reduce the number of drownings in UK waters by 50% by 2026. This is outlined in the UK’s first Drowning Prevention Strategy, which was launched on 29 February by Robert Goodwill MP (www.nationalwatersafety.org.uk/strategy)


Fire and rescue services will be giving advice to people about the dangers of water and what they should look out for.
Cumbria County Council Fire and Rescue Service is joining fire and rescue services across the UK to support the Chief Fire Officers Association’s (CFOA’s) Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Week 2016, which runs from 25 April – 1 May.