Be Water Aware
Essex County Fire and Rescue Service (ECFRS) is supporting the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) Water Safety and Drowning Prevention campaign - Be Water Aware, which launched today (Monday 24 April).
The campaign raises awareness of the dangers of everyday activities near water after statistics show that nearly 50% of people who accidently drown in the UK never intended to enter the water.
Latest statistics show that in 2015, 321 people died after tripping, falling or simply underestimating the risks associated with being near water.
It is estimated that for every drowning fatality there are eight incidents which leave people with life changing injuries.
The Chief Fire Officers Association’s water safety Lead, Dawn Whittaker, said: "Most people would be shocked to hear that those people drowning, such as runners and walkers, just happen to be near water. 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."
Lisa Mitson, Community Safety Officer, said: “As part of the campaign we’ve been distributing safety information to schools, colleges and fishing clubs to help spread or safety messages.
“We’ll also be visiting various reservoirs and reserves this week and the RNLI and sailing clubs across the County have offered us their support in spreading our messages.
“We want people to really enjoy being near the water but to be aware of the relevant risks, even if they’re not intending on going in.”
Working as part of the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF), the NFCC aims to reduce the number of drownings in UK waters by 50% by 2026.
You can join the campaign on social media by using the hashtag #BeWaterAware and read ECFRS’s water safety and drowning prevention advice.