With more people taking to the water as the weather improves, and with another bank holiday next week, Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service is asking people to stay safe to tie in with National Fire Chiefs Council’s Be Water Aware campaign which runs until 1 May.
Nearly 50 percent of people who accidentally drowned in 2020 had no intention of entering the water. Many others underestimate the risk of jumping into cold water. In both instances the effects of cold water shock and not knowing how to self rescue can cause even the strongest swimmers to drown.
In 2020, 254 lives were lost simply because people were spending time in and around water.
Even on a warm day, the temperature in open water can remain very cold, causing a physical reaction which can make it difficult to control breathing, cause panic and make it difficult to swim. If you do find yourself in difficulty in the water, don’t panic, fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back in the water and float on your back until the effects of cold water shock pass. Then you can call for help or swim to safety. If someone is in trouble in water, call 999. At the coast, ask for the coastguard. If you are inland, ask for the fire service. You should never enter the water to attempt a rescue.
NFCC prevention delivery manager Ian Hopkins said: “In 2021, Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service rescued 51 people from water and sadly three of those resulted in accidental death. Accidental drownings are preventable which is why we are asking the public to stay safe and look out #BeWaterAware for information on enjoying activities in and around water, in the safest way possible.
“We also have some fun educational activities for children on our website which include a competition for someone to win a VIP trip to one of our fire stations. To get involved, visit https://www.dwfire.org.uk/education/be-water-aware/”
For more water safety advice visit https://www.dwfire.org.uk/safety/safety-outdoors/water-safety/
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