Drowning prevention has been in the spotlight recently as we reflect on a summer of drownings and tragic loss of life. East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service are appealing for greater public awareness of risk so that people can enjoy the water safely.
East Sussex has a significant length of coast and also numerous inland rivers, lakes and reservoirs. As well as these bodies of water, domestic pools and even baths can present a risk for the very young and elderly.
Each year East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service is involved in a number of rescues and body recoveries from water. Some of these incidents are as a result of flooding but most are as a result of accidents. In almost half of all fatal incidents, the person involved had absolutely no intention of ever entering the water.
Dawn Whittaker, East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service Chief Fire Officer and Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Royal Life Saving Society UK, said: “As part of our integrated risk management plan we have a duty of care to keep people safe. We are working with our partner agencies to reduce accidental drownings, raise awareness and reduce risk. The work with our partner agencies is also essential in terms of collaboration with data so risk is better understood.
“Prevention is always better than cure. We want people to enjoy the water safely and we are fully committed to preventing drowning incidents from happening in the first place. In order to do this more education is needed, not just in schools but also through engaging with the public in awareness campaigns, so that people fully understand the risks and are better prepared.”
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. In recognition of this, in February 2016, the UK published its first national Drowning Prevention Strategy.
The Service has a proven record of raising safety awareness, demonstrated by the outcomes from both fire prevention and road safety work and we are committed to working with other agencies to ensure the risks associated with water are better understood and that the number of drownings are reduced.
We will be considering both our prevention activities and support to other agencies to address this risk to the public and are publishing a Water Safety Strategy in the near future.
Latest Update : 31 January 2018