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East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service logo
Water Safety...

Water Safety & Drowning Prevention

Drowning is a leading cause of accidental death in the UK and we’re committed to working with our partner agencies to ensure everyone is equipped with the necessary information they need to protect themselves and their loved ones.

A drowning incident happens quickly and without warning. It has a devastating impact on families and many people will survive a drowning incident but are left with life changing injuries.

We want people to really enjoy being near the water and be aware of the relevant risks.

Be water aware...    

General Safety advice 

  • 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. 

Click on the picture for more about this exciting new life-saving water safety education initiative

Summer Water Safety


School holidays are well underway and the beach is a fantastic place to be.

If you’re heading to the coast, have fun and stay safe, choose a lifeguarded beach, where trained professionals are on hand to keep you and your family safe.    

Safety Tips

Key safety tips for staying safe near water this summer   

  • Alcohol and swimming do not mix - stay out of the water if you have been drinking.    
  • Never let children swim in unsupervised areas like quarries, canals or ponds.    
  • Never interfere with water safety equipment, it might be needed to save a life – maybe yours!   
  • Swimming in unsupervised areas like quarries, canals or ponds is dangerous and is not recommended, unless as part of an organised club. 

Open Water Swimming

Join a club for open water swimming

For anyone wishing to pursue open water swimming there are a number of clubs that offer supervised sessions. 

To find out more or to locate a club near you to visit:

Interview with Chief Fire Officer 

Dawn Whittaker, Chief Fire Officer, discussing an awareness campaign of the risks of swimming in fast-flowing or deep water.

News Item from BBC Sussex 03 August 2017

The danger of swimming in cold, fast-flowing or deep water.

What to do if someone falls into deep water

The first thing to do is call for help – straightaway. Call 999.   

  • The emergency services will need to know where you are. Accurate information can save precious minutes. If you have a smart phone and have location services or map tools enabled this can help. If not, look around for any landmarks or signs – for example bridges may have numbers on them which can identify their location.    
  • Don’t hang up – stay on the line but try and continue to help the person if appropriate.
  • When you have made this call shout for help from anyone who might be close by.
  • Human nature says you are likely to want to attempt to help while rescue services are on their way. Never, ever enter the water to try to save someone. This usually ends up adding to the problem.
  • If you go into the water you are likely to suffer from cold water shock which will leave you unable to help even if you are a strong swimmer.
  • Can the person help themselves? Shout to them ‘Swim to me’. The water can be disorientating. This can give them a focus. Keep any instructions short clear and loud. Don’t shout instructions using different words each time.
  • Look around for any lifesaving equipment. Depending on where you are there might be lifebelts or throw bags – use them. If they are attached to a rope make sure you have secured or are holding the end of the rope so you can pull them in.
  • If there is no lifesaving equipment look at what else you can use. There may be something that can help them stay afloat – even an item such as a ball can help. 
  • If you manage to get the person out of the water they will always need medical attention – even if they seem fine, drowning can occur at a later stage if water has already entered the lungs.

Working with partners

We have a statutory duty to identify and respond to risk within our communities by helping to keep people safe.

Beach Flags

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Useful links

National Water Safety Forum
National Water Safety Forum
Royal Life Saving Society
Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS)
RNLI Life Boats
RNLI Life Boats

Latest Update :
11 August 2017
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