MID and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service are supporting the National Fire Chiefs Council’s (NFCC) Be Water Aware campaign. The week-long campaign runs from 29th April – 5 May 2019 and is a national campaign which aims to highlight the risk of accidental drowning.  Half of accidental drownings during 2017 happened when people didn’t intend to go in the water.  Activities such as running, walking, fishing and cycling near water puts you at risk of drowning.

In 2017:

  • 51 calls were received in relation to inland waterway or river incidents, which resulted in 13 people being rescued by Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service personnel.
  • Across the UK, 255 people accidentally drowned;
    • Around 50% of these people were not intending to enter the water, and
    • About 85% of these fatalities were male.
  • In addition, 75 UK nationals, mainly tourists, drowned whilst abroad.

 Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service’s Deputy Head of Community Safety, Station Manager Neil Evans, said:

“It is shocking to hear that those people who drowned had no intention of going into the water and just happened to be taking part in everyday activities near water, like going for a run or walk.  It is important to be aware of the risks and be prepared in case you do accidently end up in the water. By highlighting this issue and providing some simple safety messages we hope to reduce the number of these needless and preventable deaths.”

Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service offer the following 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, if the surface is slippery or in bad weather
  • If you’ve had alcohol don’t enter the water, avoid walking alone near water and avoid routes near water
  • Never enter the water to try and help a person or animal – always call 999 and use any water rescue equipment if it is available
  • 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 and now we must apply the same principle to tackling drowning. Response is not enough – we must prevent drownings.

Be Water Aware is vital information if you don’t intend to go in the water!

For more safety messages, information, advice or guidance during Water Safety week please check out our Social Media channels and visit our website   http://www.mawwfire.gov.uk/English/Safety/In-The-Community/Pages/Water-Safety-Advice.aspx

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