Emergency services join forces for Water Safety Week
Water safety in the community will be promoted at an event hosted by Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service and Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) this weekend.
The highlights will include a peek aboard a lifeboat and a tour of a fire engine while children will get the chance to pose with the vehicles and even dress up in kit.
The event will be held on Saturday (April 30) at West Beach, Hayling Island, from 10am till 3pm and aims to promote water safety and cut the number of deaths by drowning.
Volunteers will be running the Community Contact Point which will offer interactive information and advice after figures showed walkers, runners, cyclists and dog owners could be at risk.
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, along with fire and rescue services across the UK, is supporting the Chief Fire Officers Association’s (CFOA) Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Week 2016, which runs until May 1.
In 2014, 44% of people who drowned had no intention of entering the water.
Trips, falls or underestimating the risks associated with being near water resulted in 302 people dying.
CFOA’s Water Safety Lead, Dawn Whittaker, said: “Most people would be shocked to hear those people drowning just happen to be near water such as runners, walkers and fisherman.
“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 deaths.”
Last year Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service were called out to 89 animal rescues from water, in some cases owners had also gone in to try to save their pet. Working as part of the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF), CFOA aims to reduce the number of drownings in UK waters by 50% by 2026.
The RNLI’s community incident reduction manager, Keith Colwell, said: “We’re delighted to be working closely with Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service to deliver essential water safety advice.
“We’re offering an engaging and interactive day out which could save you or your family’s life.”
The UK’s first Drowning Prevention Strategy was launched on February 29 by MP Robert Goodwill MP.
The water safety messages that fire and rescue services will be delivering will also raise awareness and support of the safety campaigns run by other members of the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF), which includes Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS), Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and Amateur Swimming Association (ASA).
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