- Thursday, 26 April 2018 10:30
Firefighters from Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) will be raising awareness of Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Week when they engage with customers at a harbourside club in Bristol this evening (Thursday 26 April).
Crews from Temple Fire Station will be joining representatives from the Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS) as they meet customers outside The Thekla, a floating nightclub in Bristol harbour.
The two organisations will be working together to encourage people to have fun on their nights out, but to take the risks associated with being near the water seriously. In particular they will be suggesting friends take care of each other when they’re making their way home and avoid routes that take them too close to the water.
All week staff from AF&RS have been supporting the national campaign aimed at reducing the number of people who lose their lives in waterways in the UK.
Fire and rescue services around the country have been taking part in activity to support the National Fire Chiefs Council’s (NFCC) safety week which runs from Monday 23 to Sunday 29 April.
Drowning is one of the UK’s leading causes of accidental death. 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.
Following a number of deaths in the waterways in Bristol and Bath in recent years involving young men who had been out socialising, firefighters have been seeking the support of local bars and clubs to spread the campaign’s messages.
During the safety week crews have been distributing leaflets and posters to venues close to the water in Bath, Bristol and Weston-super-Mare in a bid to encourage drinkers to consider how they will get home at the end of their night.
Steve Quinton, Head of Community Safety at Avon Fire & Rescue Service, said: “Very sadly every year across the country we lose too many people as a result of accidents in water. This is a risk that all fire and rescue services are working together to reduce.
“In our area a number of those who have lost their lives are young men who have been out enjoying themselves before meeting tragic and untimely ends. There is already a huge amount of work taking place in both Bristol and Bath to both educate and protect people, but it’s vital we keep water safety uppermost in the minds of those on a night out.
“We’re extremely grateful to all the bars and clubs that are working with us to educate their customers about the risks but it’s important we concentrate on ensuring long term behavioural change.”
Firefighters are promoting the following advice to those whose night out takes them close to a waterway.
• Avoid walking home alongside water after a night out.
• Make sure friends get home safely after a night out - don't let them walk alone by the water.
• Plan your journey home before you go out.