East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service are supporting the Chief Fire Officer’s Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Week (24 – 30 April.)
Drowning in the UK is amongst the leading cause of accidental deaths. Just under 50% of these people who drowned had no intention of entering the water. The people most at risk of drowning are those who just happen to be running or walking near the water.
Drowning’s often have complex and multiple causes. Last week, we had an example of how quickly a drowning situation can occur, when one of our off-duty Fire Officer’s helped to rescue a baby who was strapped into his buggy, after it rolled into a lake.
The mother had been momentarily distracted because her other child was very distressed. She had let go of the buggy on a very slight incline near the water’s edge. The incline was so slight it wouldn’t necessarily have seemed dangerous. The buggy was weighted down with bags, so once it had started to move, it just gained momentum and fell into the lake. Fortunately in this instance, everyone was ok.
Drowning in the UK accounts for more accidental fatalities every year than fires in the home or cycling on the road and many more people suffer life changing injuries in water related incidents.We are absolutely committed to ensuring people have a better understanding of risks and reducing the number of water related incidents the Service attends.
East Sussex Fire & Rescue service staff are helping to raise awareness by holding several community safety initiatives during the Water Safety Week that include a charity kayak event, involving crews from Rother and Hastings, a water safety rescue exercise involving crews from Battle, Bohemia Road and The Ridge. We are also running a water safety awareness training session, which is being run for our community volunteers and a water safety poster competition for children.
Andrea Janes, East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service, Water Safety Co-ordinator, said: “Prevention is always better than cure. We want people to enjoy the water safely and ensure they are fully aware of the associated risks."
- If you are going out on your own, let someone know where you are going and when you are coming back.
- Obey any warning or safety signs.
- Look out for trip or slip hazards around water and stick to proper pathways.
- Remember river banks and cliff edges may be unstable and give way.
- Don’t fool around near water, especially if you have been drinking – look out for each other and raise the alarm if you see someone in trouble.
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