Firefighters warn people to stay safe around water

29 April 2019, 15:31 | Updated: 29 April 2019, 15:33

Cold Water Rescue

Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service is urging people to stay safe around water.

Half of accidental drownings in 2017 happened when people didn't even intend to go in the water. 

They warn activities such as running, walking, fishing and cycling near water can put you at risk of drowning. 

Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Lead, Chief Fire Officer Dawn Whittaker, said: "Most people would be shocked to hear that those people who drowned just happened to be taking part in everyday activities near water, like going for a run or walk. They are unaware of the risks and are totally unprepared for the scenario of ending up in the water. By highlighting this issue and making sure simple safety messages reach them we hope to reduce the number of these needless and preventable deaths."

Fire and Rescue Service advice:
• If you are going for a walk or run near water stick to proper pathways and stay clear of the water’s edge.
• Make sure conditions are safe. Avoid walking or running near water in the dark, when it is slippery or in bad weather
• If you've had alcohol don't enter the water, avoid walking alone and avoid routes near water
• Never enter the water to try and help a person or animal - always call 999
• If you are spending time near water - whether at home or abroad make sure you are familiar with local safety information and children are fully supervised.

The fire service has successfully reduced the number of fire deaths by focusing on prevention work, now they are looking to do the same thing to tackle tackling drowning.

Education Coordinator Tess Cross said “Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service education officers will be taking water safety into the lessons that they are delivering over Water Safety Week. Lessons will promote Royal National Lifeboat Institution and Royal Life Saving Society water advice and resources. More events have been planned over the summer to help educate young people to stay safe near water.”