Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

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Fire service encourages people to stay safe whilst enjoying the water

Did you know that Essex County Fire and Rescue Service plays an important role in water rescues? And we have one of the longest coastlines of any county in England, along with rivers and waterside locations that people enjoy all year round.

That’s why our Service is taking part in the National Fire Chiefs’ Council’s Be Water Aware campaign which runs from 25th April to 1st May 2022. The campaign is warning people of the risk of accidentally drowning when in and around water.

Our top tips for being safe are:

  • 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 water, there may be hidden debris and can lead to potentially fatal cold water shock even on the warmest day
  • Actively supervise children in and around water at all times - 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 effects of cold water shock pass. Only then, call for help, swim to safety or continue floating until help arrives.

If someone is in trouble in the water – don't enter the water to rescue. Call 999 and ask for the Fire Service if inland and the Coastguard when 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 we’ll be out along Southend seafront and 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. We’ll also be publicising top tips and videos on our social media channels this week so keep an eye out for those and enjoy our coastline, beaches, rivers and waterways safely.”

For more Water Safety advice, go to the fire service website: www.essex-fire.gov.uk/water

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