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Be Water Aware- Vital information if you don't intend to go in the water!

Date : 02 May 2019

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We are supporting the National Fire Chiefs Council's (NFCC) Be Water Aware campaign. The week long campaign runs from 29th April - 5 May 2019 and is a national campaign which aims to highlight the risk of accidental drowning.

Fantastic work

NFCC's Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Lead, Chief Fire Officer Dawn Whittaker said: "In 2018, there were three accidental drownings in East Sussex.  This is still three too many, but it’s the lowest figure for many years and I believe this is testimony to the fantastic work carried out by staff, volunteers and partner agencies to raise awareness and introduce water safety education. 

I would like to highlight the hard work, support and collaboration from our partner agencies including the RLSS (for their support with our successful Safety In Action Scheme) and I would like to also thank the Scott family for their support with our ‘Daniel’s Story’ campaign."

Daniel’s Story

'Daniels’s Story' is a true story is about a young man who became separated from his friends during a November night out and fell, unnoticed into the River Ouse. A random 999 call sparked a major, multi-agency rescue and the individual was rescued alive after a police helicopter located a faint heat source. He had been in the water for around 90 minutes. The film weaves together his story, his family’s reaction when they got the call and the events of the evening from the perspective of ESFRS personnel who rescued him along with those of our emergency service colleagues.

You can watch the video here: https://www.esfrs.org/your-safety/water-safety-drowning-prevention/daniels-story/

Needless and preventable deaths

Half of accidental drownings happened in 2017 when people didn't even intend to go in the water. Activities such as running, walking, fishing and cycling near water can put you at risk of drowning.

 In 2017:

  • 255 people accidentally drowned in the UK
  • Around 50% of these people just happened to be near water
  • About 85% of these fatalities were male
  • In addition 75 UK nationals, mainly tourists, drowned whilst abroad in 2017

NFCC's Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Lead, Chief Fire Officer Dawn Whittaker "Most people would be shocked to hear that those people who drowned just happened to be taking part in everyday activities near water, like going for a run or walk. 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 and preventable deaths."

Important advice 

  • If you are going for a walk or run near water stick to proper pathways and stay clear of the waters edge
  • Make sure conditions are safe, avoid walking or running near water in the dark, slippery or in bad weather
  • If you've had alcohol don't enter the water, avoid walking alone and avoid routes near water
  • 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
  • If you are spending time near water - whether at home or abroad make sure you are familiar with local safety information and children are fully supervised

Response is not enough

The Fire Service has successfully reduced the number of fire deaths by focusing on prevention work and now we must apply the same principle to tackling drowning. Response is not enough - we must prevent drownings.


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