Drowning Prevention Support

Fire engines at stations across Cleveland will be turning alarm lights on for two minutes to “go blue” in support of World Drowning Prevention Day on 25 July.

Drowning in the UK is amongst the leading causes of accidental death and the dangers are heightened during school holidays and the hotter summer days.

Young people are most vulnerable, as many are unaware of the dangers of jumping into cold water in hot weather and are prone to taking risks in unsafe waters without adults around.

Andrew Bright, Learn & Live Coordinator, said: “At this time of year, it can be very tempting to cool off in our waters. People should take extra care and follow local water safety advice.”

Brigade crews will also be linking up with RNLI and coastguards to issue #RespectTheWater messages.

These include:

  • Pay attention to warning notices – if it says no swimming, simply don’t swim
  • At the beach – if there is a lifeguard only swim if it is safe and between the flags as indicated
  • Always watch children – on the beach or around other natural bodies of water
  • Beware of currents – water may look calm but undercurrents, riptides etc. could pull you under
  • Cold water shock – the surface may feel warm, but below can be icy cold, numbing limbs
  • Never dive or tombstone (cliff jump) – the depth is unknown, and you may face hazards such as rocks or pollution
  • Swimming competence – even a strong pool swimmer is not prepared for conditions in open water
  • Alcohol and swimming don’t mix – stay out of the water if you have been drinking
  • Never swim – in areas like quarries, canals or ponds

Cleveland Fire Brigade has a water rescue unit based at Thornaby. The fully fitted support vehicle includes an inflatable boat, ten and five person rescue sleds, two inflatable walkways, decontamination spray units and first aid equipment.

In addition, an emergency response boat is stationed at the Tees Barrage and is available for rapid response to water rescue incidents.

World Drowning Prevention Day is organised by the World Health Organization to raise awareness of water safety. The theme is “anyone can drown, no one should” and people are being asked to “do one thing” to help save lives. To find what you can do, please click here.

If you see somebody in trouble in the water – don’t enter the water to rescue.

Call 999 or 112 and either, ask for the Coastguard when at the coast or ask for the Fire Service if inland.

Please note the blue lights will be turned on for two minutes at 09:30 and then again at 20:00.

For more water safety advice, visit: https://www.clevelandfire.gov.uk/safety/outdoor-safety/water-safety/

Contact communications@clevelandfire.gov.uk for a copy of our interactive water safety leaflet.