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Be Water Aware and Jet the Dragon visits Eastbourne

Be Water Aware and Jet the Dragon visits Eastbourne
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East Sussex Fire & Rescue is joining other fire services across the UK and asking people to stay safe when spending time in and around water as the weather begins to improve. 

The call comes as part the National Fire Chiefs Council’s Be Water Aware campaign which runs from 25th April – 1st May 2022. 

The campaign is warning people of the risk of accidentally drowning when in and around water. Nearly 50 percent of people who accidentally drowned in 2020 had no intention of entering the water. Many others underestimate the risk of jumping into cold water. In both instances the effects of cold water shock and not knowing how to self rescue can cause even the strongest swimmers to drown.

Even on a warm day the temperature in open water can remain very cold, causing a physical reaction which can make it difficult to control breathing, cause panic and make it difficult to swim.

Float to live

If you do find yourself in difficulty in the water, don’t panic, fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back in the water and float on your back until the effects of cold water shock pass. Then you can call for help or swim to safety.

If someone is in trouble in water, call 999. At the coast ask for the coastguard. If you are inland, ask for the fire service. You should never enter the water to attempt a rescue.

Dawn Whittaker, NFCC’s lead for drowning prevention said “Most people would be shocked to hear that in 2020, 254 lives were lost simply because people were spending time in and around water. These deaths are preventable, so we ask everyone to be water aware. NFCC work closely with fire services and partners to encourage people to be safe around water and to highlight the risk of accidental drowning. As the weather improves fire services across the country, along with our colleagues in HM Coastguard and RNLI, can be faced with huge numbers of calls to help people in trouble in water. By raising awareness now, we hope to keep people safe and reduce the number of injuries and fatalities in water as summer approaches.”

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Jet The Dragon visits Eastbourne beach!

This week sees the launch of ‘Jet and the beach visit’, a short story aimed at children to raise awareness of water safety and the dangers of using inflatables.  Jet The Dragon is the brainchild of Cambridgeshire Fire & Rescue and this story sees Jet visiting Eastbourne beach.  The video stars our very own Chief Fire Officer, Dawn Whittaker and includes voiceovers from members of our Water Safety team.  You can view the full video here.  

CFO Whittaker said: ”We love welcoming visitors to East Sussex and our lovely beaches at main holiday centres of  Rye, Hastings, Eastbourne and Brighton. Jet’s story is all about her visit to stay with her aunt and enjoy the beach. Even though Jet is a firefighter, she didn’t know much about beach water safety and learnt the hard way. It’s really important for children and young people to know how to keep safe on summer holidays and enjoy the seaside safely, so please do share Jets story and chat to your family about how to #BeWaterAware and #Respectthewater." 

Be Water Aware in Bexhill

On Tuesday 26th April, Bexhill firefighters will be on the Green by the De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill.  Firefighters will be working in collaboration with RNLI and Search & Rescue to promote the Be Water Aware campaign by running throwline challenges and water safety activities. Look out for the Big Red Water Safety Gazebo!


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