Fire Service urge Essex residents to Be Water Aware
As the current Covid-19 restrictions ease it is anticipated many people will head to coastal locations and inland water beauty spots. Few people would think they might become a water incident statistic. But the fact is in the UK in 2019 more people died from accidental drowning than cyclists did on the road.
The National Fire Chiefs Council’s (NFCC) Be Water Aware campaign will run from 26th April - 2nd May. Essex County Fire and Rescue Service is taking part to encourage people not to be complacent when spending time in and around water. The aim is to encourage people to be safe by being aware of the risks.
Following simple advice will help reduce the 223 accidental drownings reported in 2019 and the many more injuries, which can be lifechanging, following water related incidents. The advice includes:
• Never swim alone in case you need help
• Don’t drink alcohol when undertaking water related activities, it impairs judgement and your ability to swim
• Avoid walking routes near water if you have been drinking alcohol
• Don’t dive or jump straight into open water, this can cause potentially fatal cold water shock even on the warmest day
• Actively supervise children in and around water - drowning can happen fast and silently
• If you find yourself unexpectedly in the water, don’t panic, extend your arms and legs out and float on your back until the effect of cold water shock pass
• Never enter the water to try and rescue someone, call 999 and ask for the Fire Service if inland and the Coastguard if you are at the coast.
Essex County Fire and Rescue Service’s Water Safety Lead Andrea MacAlister said:
“Most people don't think of the fire service when it comes to water rescues, but it's an important part of our work which is why we want people to enjoy spending time in and around water safely.
“During Be Water Aware week, firefighters and Community Safety Officers will be out around the County at locations we’ve identified as being high risk for water incidents. If you see our crews, please do come over and say hello and find out more about how you can keep yourself and family safe around water.
For more Water Safety advice, go to the fire service website: www.essex-fire.gov.uk/water