Fire service backs national Drowning Prevention Week campaign with outreach events

In support of this week, AF&RS have collaborated with student accommodation provider Student Roost, to host a number of engagement events across the area.

Drowning Prevention Week aims to equip everybody across the UK and Ireland with the skills and knowledge, to make the right decisions about water safety.

“We are proud to play our part in ensuring that young people are safer in our cities, and water safety is a key element of this.”  

Jacq Hardwick, Water Safety Lead at AF&RS

Figures from the Water Incident Database (WAID) indicate that in the UK, 50% of people who accidentally drowned in 2023 did not intend to enter the water. This means that they found themselves in the water whilst out walking, running, or doing some other activity that was not water-related.   

Jacq Hardwick, Water Safety Lead at AF&RS said: “We want you to visit and enjoy our cities, the exceptional nightlife on offer, and make lifelong memories. Alcohol and other substances seriously impair your judgement and make you more likely to take risks. Our message to you is don’t drink and drown and always look out for your friends.”  

Alongside their continuous water safety campaigns, AF&RS are working with local schools, businesses and Student Roost to target safety messages to young people living in Bristol and Bath. Engagement events are planned in Bristol and Bath during Drowning Prevention Week which will allow local crews to engage with young people living and working in both cities.   

Alastair Weston, Director, Health & Safety at Student Roost said: “Water safety should be of importance to everyone, but especially students throughout the UK who are studying in cities where open water areas such as beaches, rivers and canals can pose a serious danger, especially following nights out.

“We’re thrilled to be working alongside Avon Fire & Rescue to share the message that water safety should be taken seriously within the student community. We’re also hosting Water Safety Week events at our properties in Bath and Chester, to further educate more students.”

AF&RS say you should NEVER enter the water to help a person or animal. By far the best way to help someone who has fallen in the water is to use a river rescue cabinet.   

To use a cabinet:   

  • Call 999  
  • Quote the location number on the cabinet. You will be given a four-digit code to open the cabinet and access the throwline inside.    
  • Ensure you are safe distance away from the water’s edge and take the throwline and unfasten the Velcro.    
  • Wrap the end of the line around your less dominant hand, ensuring you have a secure and firm grip.  
  • Using your dominant hand, throw the bag towards the person. Whilst you do this, a rescue crew will be travelling to your location.    

If someone is in trouble in the water, the best way to help is by staying calm, staying on land, and remember to use Call, Tell, Throw:   

  • Call 999 for the emergency services   
  • Tell the struggling person to float to live, on their back in a starfish shape.   
  • Throw them something that floats  
More water safety advice
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