As part of Drowning Prevention Week, Avon Fire & Rescue service is taking the opportunity to remind local residents that extra care is needed when they are near water.
The Royal Life Saving Society’s (RLSS UK) campaign is currently taking place, 18th – 26th June.
With one person drowning every 20 hours in the UK and hundreds more suffering life changing injuries through near drowning, AF&RS is joining the campaign to promote safety around the water.
This month one man drowned in the River Avon in Saltford, while in an unrelated incident the body of a man was recovered from the river in Bath.
Rob Seaman, Station Manager Technical Rescue: “The recent tragedies bring into sharp perspective why water safety is so important, particularly at this time of year.
“Drowning Prevention Week is about highlighting the dangers many people aren’t perhaps aware of in the hope that we can prevent one of the hundreds of drownings each year in the UK.
“Although rivers, canals and reservoirs looked tempting on a warm day they can be extremely cold which can cause even very strong swimmers to get into difficulty very quickly.”
Safety advice from Avon Fire & Rescue:
What are the risks?
- Cold water removes heat from the body 25 times faster than air. This increases to 250 times in moving water.
- Entering into cold water can cause cold shock, cramps, inhalation of water, heart attack, stroke and rapid drowning.
- Undercurrents can drag you under and keep you under.
- Head and spinal injuries from hidden objects such as rocks, trees and even shopping trolleys.
- Infection from open cuts or swallowing water.
Keep yourself safe:
Do not enter open water no matter how inviting it looks, unless it is an organised event with safety measures in place.
What to do if somebody is in trouble:
- Think, do not put yourself in danger. Do not enter the water or jump in.
- Shout for help, ring 999 and request the Fire and Rescue Service.
- Throw designated rescue equipment or rope if available to pull the person to the bank. Otherwise throw in something that will float this will help keep the person afloat until assistance arrives.
- Reach – if it’s safe to do so, try and reach the person with a stick/pole and crouch or lie down to avoid being pulled into the water.
For more information and advice on river safety, visit www.avonfire.gov.uk.