Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service has joined a call by UK fire chiefs to raise awareness of the dangers of everyday activities near water after statistics show that nearly 50% of people who accidently drowned in the UK never intended to enter the water.
The National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) Water Safety and Drowning Prevention campaign – Be Water Aware, is running from 24 – 30 April 2017 and is being supported by fire and rescue services throughout the UK.
Latest statistics show that in 2015, 321 people died after tripping, falling or simply underestimating the risks associated with being near water.
CFOA’s Water safety Lead, Dawn Whittaker, said “Most people would be shocked to hear that those people drowning just happen to be near water such as runners, walkers and fisherman. 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.”
From April 2014 to March 2017, Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service were called to 111 water related incidents. 39 of those involved rescuing a total of 59 people and 32 involved animal rescues. Our crews train rigorously for these types of incidents and all crews are now trained to a minimum competency of Swiftwater and Flood First Responder, with our boat team at Rugby being trained to a higher level.
Talking about water safety, Moreno Francioso, Community Fire Prevention and Arson Manager for Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “Although incidents involving open water are relatively low in Warwickshire, there are still occasions where people have got into trouble unintentionally when out walking their dog, driving through flood water or just simply messing around.
“Sadly over the years this has resulted in lives being lost and this is something we need to ensure is not repeated.
“As part of Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Week 2017, we are asking people to think twice before they get into deep water and not only put their lives at risk, but also the lives of the firefighters or passers-by, who go in to try and rescue them.”
During the week our crews will be out and about giving advice to people on what they should look out for and how to change their behaviour to minimise the risk of them getting trapped in flood water or getting into trouble in the water.