Man and dog walking on grassy hill with sea in the background

Water Safety

Most people don't think of the fire service when it comes to water rescues, but it's an important part of our work. Tragically, more than 700 people drown in the UK and Ireland every year and many more suffer life-changing injuries.

While we hope you'll never need them, we have specialist water rescue crews ready to respond to emergencies across Essex 24/7. 

Please read through our safety advice to keep yourself, your friends and family safe around water. Remember, if you or someone else is in trouble in water call 999 immediately.

Follow these simple steps to stay safe around water:
  • 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. It can cause potentially fatal cold water shock, even on the warmest day
  • Actively supervise children in and around water - drowning can happen quickly 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 you're inland or the Coastguard if you're at the coast

Float to Live

Everyone who falls into cold water unexpectedly wants to follow the same instinct: to swim hard and fight the water. But when you fight it, the chances are, you’ll lose. Instead the RNLI recommend you stay calm and Float to Live.

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Always follow the Water Safety Code

Whenever you are around water:

  • STOP and THINK - Look for the dangers, always read the signs
  • STAY TOGETHER - Never swim alone - always go with friends or family

In an emergency:

  • CALL 999  - Shout for help and phone 999
  • FLOAT - If you fall in, float or swim on your back. Throw something that floats to anyone who has fallen in

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