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East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service logo

Get ho ho home safely this Christmas

Date : 02 December 2019


Festive drinkers in Brighton are being urged to look after their friends on a night out after East Sussex was ranked in the top three counties for drink and drug related drownings.

We are supporting the Royal Life Saving Society UK’s national Don’t Drink and Drown campaign, (this year running from 2-8 December). Local organisations have joined together to ask the city’s revelers to stick together during their festivities and not to let any of their friends walk home alone.

On Friday 6 December, representatives from East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, Brighton Beach Patrol and RLSS UK will be speaking with members of the public on Brighton seafront about the dangers of drinking and being near the water, urging them to “Get Ho Ho Home Safely” this Christmas. Bars, clubs and local businesses will be displaying their very own Christmas ducks and posters urging members of the public not to drink and drown. 

Third highest county for intoxicated drownings

Latest statistics revealed 47 people have accidentally drowned in East Sussex over the last five years and 30% of these (14) were found to have had alcohol and/or drugs in their system. This makes it the third highest county for intoxicated drownings in the UK.

Nationally, there have been 543 accidental drownings in the UK between 2013-2018.  These victims had alcohol and/or drugs in their bloodstream. Many of them drowned because they walked home alone after a night out and fell in the water. 

Look out for your friends

Susan Taylor (Water Safety- East Sussex Fire and Rescue), said: “Through our Christmas Duck campaign we aim to make meaningful engagement with party goers and revellers in Brighton.  Our ducks and posters will be on display in pubs, bars and clubs that are near water. We want everyone to have a great time this Christmas and through our support of the Don’t Drink and Drown campaign, we aim to give essential advice to party-goers to make sure they know how to stay safe when they’re out celebrating.  When walking home from a night out, avoid routes that are alongside water, particularly in the darkness and always stay with and look out for your friends.

Hannah Wiggins-Bettles (RLSS UK Community Drowning Prevention Coordinator Brighton), said: “It’s a sad truth that the number of drownings increase in the winter period, more often than not because of intoxication. Families, friends and whole communities are left devastated every year because someone walks home alone whilst under the influence and falls into the water. We’re urging people to stay together on a night out. Make sure their friends get home safe and don’t let them walk anywhere, especially near water, alone.”

Stay Safe this Christmas:

  • Don’t walk home near water, you might fall in
  • Look out for your friends, make sure they get home safely
  • Don’t enter the water if you have been drinking
  • Alcohol seriously affects your ability to get yourself out of trouble


Further information

  • Lots of vital advice and guidance on water safety can be found at: www.esfrs.org/watersafety
  • For more information on RLSS UK’s Don’t Drink and Drown campaign visit www.rlss.org.uk,
  • Follow the campaign on Twitter using the hashtag #DontDrinkandDrown



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