With the chilling statistic that in 2019 more people died from accidental drowning that cyclists did on the road, Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service is taking part in the National Fire Chiefs Council’s (NFCC) Be Water Aware campaign which runs from 26 April – 2 May.
There were 223 accidental drownings reported in 2019 in addition to life changing injuries following water related incidents.
With more people getting out and about the service has this advice.
- Never swim alone in case you need help.
- Don’t drink alcohol when undertaking water related activities, it impairs judgement and your ability to swim.
- Avoid walking routes near water if you have been drinking alcohol.
- Don’t dive or jumping straight into open water, this can cause potentially fatal cold water shock, even on the warmest day.
- Actively supervise children in and around water – drowning can happen fast and silently.
- If you find yourself unexpectedly in the water, don’t panic, extend your arms and legs out and float on your back until the effects of cold water shock pass.
- Never enter the water to try and rescue someone, call 999 and ask for the Fire Service if inland and the Coastguard if you are by the sea.
The NFCC’s drowning prevention lead Dawn Whittaker said: “We want people to enjoy spending time in and around water safely and that’s why we are asking people to be water aware. By highlighting this issue and making sure simple safety messages reach them, we hope to reduce the number of these needless and preventable deaths.”
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