Be water aware this summer

Cleveland Fire Brigade is urging people to be careful around water as drowning in the UK is one of the leading causes of accidental death.

The call comes to support the National Fire Chiefs Council’s (NFCC’s) drowning prevention and water safety campaign ‘Be Water Aware’ which runs from 23rd – 29th April.

Each year more than 300 people drown after tripping, falling or just by underestimating the risks associated with being near water. Many more people are left with life changing injuries in water related incidents.

Dave Turton, Head of Community Safety for Cleveland Fire Brigade said, “It is essential to highlight the dangers of drowning and to be ‘Water Aware’. Locally we have the River Tees and other waterways that can pose a danger to anyone who goes near them. We hope that by providing people with safety advice, it will hopefully save lives.”

NFCC’s Water Safety Lead, Chief Fire Officer Dawn Whittaker, said “Most people would be shocked to hear that those people drowning just happen to be near water such as runners and walkers.

“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 deaths.”

Safety advice

  • If you are going for a walk or run near water stick to proper pathways and stay clear of the water’s 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

The fire service has successfully reduced the number of accidental dwelling fires by focusing on prevention work and now we must apply the same principle to support our partners and the community to  tackling drowning. Response is not enough – we must prevent drownings.