This week sees the launch of CFOA’s second drowning prevention and water safety week which runs from 25 April – 1 May 2016. Fire and rescue services throughout the UK will be supporting this campaign in their local area and via social media.
The campaign builds on the collaborative worth of the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF) which on 29 February 2016 launched the UK’s first drowning prevention strategy at the House of Commons. CFOA’s Water Safety Lead sits on the NWSF and we are working closely with other organisations in the NWSF to support the overall aim of reducing the number of drownings in the UK by 50% by 2026.
Part of the work of the NWSF is collating data relating to water fatalities. The figure that stood out for CFOA was the very high number of preventable water fatalities in people who had no intention of entering the water. The latest figures related to 2014-15 and show 138 fatalities were people that were just running or walking near water.
It is not the case that activities such as open water swimming and sailing are high risk. Such activities are for the most part well organised and people have taking part have weighed up the risks and taken action to minimise them.
The campaign will ask people to be water aware. It aims to highlight the everyday dangers of being near water. It is easy to trip or slip and end up in the water. Likewise people may not think there’s too much risk in leaning over to retrieve an object or pull the dog out when it’s jumped in for a swim.
The week aim to give advice on how we can be safer, what to consider and look out for in out everyday activities near water and also what to do if something does happen.
You can get involved by finding out what activities your local fire and rescue service have planned, retweeting their tweets or taking a look at any advice they publish on their websites. Crucially though we want you to follow the advice and be water aware.