Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service urges SOUTHPORT to be water aware

21st May 2018

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service urges Southport to be water aware

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (MFRS) is joining a call by UK fire chiefs to warn people of the dangers of drowning when involved in activities either in or near water.

Statistics show that drowning in the UK in now one of the leading causes of accidental death. In 2016 alone, 315 people in Britain accidentally drowned, with around 50% taking part in normal everyday activities near water at the time such as walking or running.

In addition during the same period, 64 people aged between 15-29 drowned, of which over 30% had alcohol in their system at the time

To help spread awareness of the dangers around water, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service will be supporting The National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) National Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Week between April 23rd and April 29th with a series of events across the region.

Working with Merseyside Police, Southport Lifeboat, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), the Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS UK), Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and Mersey Ferries, MFRS will help deliver a series of briefings and demonstrations to children from local schools at locations such as the Pier Head in Liverpool and on the Mersey Ferry.

These events will include a live demonstration of a rescue from water at the Mersey Ferry Terminal as well as a multi-agency water rescue display at Southport and an educational event at Hoylake.

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service Station Manager and Lead for Water Safety Steve Pang said: “The latest figures showing water linked fatalities make shocking reading and demonstrate just how serious the risks are for people who go near to or into water.

“Nearly 50% of people who accidently drown in the UK never intended to enter the water originally so it imperative that you are aware of the risks and take action accordingly.

“Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service are called out to incidents involving rescue from water on a frequent basis. Some of these are people who have deliberately entered the water, either in a distressed state, or possibly under the influence of alcohol or drugs but many people do so accidentally.

“We would urge people engaging in activities near water such as running, dog walking or angling to be especially careful to stay safe. If you are involved in water sports or activities, make sure that you are well prepared, with the correct safety equipment and a good idea of weather conditions. If you have been for a night out, bear in mind that if you have been drinking, your judgement of risk may be affected, take a safe route home away from water.”

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During water safety week, MFRS will be giving advice to people on what they should look out for and steps to take to minimise the risks near water.

Steve added: “By highlighting this issue and making sure simple safety messages reach them we hope to reduce the number of these needless deaths. The fire service has successfully reduced the number of fire deaths by focussing on prevention work and now we must apply the same principle to tackling drowning. Response is not enough – we must prevent drownings.”

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.

Make sure you follow these important safety tips near water:

• If you are going for a walk or run near water stick to proper pathways and stay clear of the water’s edge
• Make sure conditions are safe, avoid walking or running near water in the dark, slippery or in bad weather
• If you’ve had alcohol don’t enter the water, avoid walking alone and avoid routes near water
• Never enter the water to try and help a person or animal – always call 999 and use any water rescue equipment if it is available
• If you are spending time near water – whether at home or abroad make sure you are familiar with local safety information