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Water safety advice for Drowning Prevention Week

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Safe water

Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) is supporting Drowning Prevention Week, an initiative of the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) which will run from 16 to 26 June 2017.

Station Commander Stuart Crebbin from Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service said: "Around 400people drown in the UK every year and 23 people across the two counties unintentionally drowned between 2012 and 2015. By spreading water safety advice far and wide, Drowning Prevention Week aims to teach people how to stay safe near water. Staff from around the Service will be attending various events across the two counties to promote water safety during this time".

He continued: "With the weather getting warmer and the summer holidays coming up we are keen to highlight water safety awareness to children, their parents and as wide a cross-section of the local community as possible. Drowning is a leading cause of accidental death for children in the UK, with latest statistics showing that 56 under 10's lost their lives in just 5 years. During Drowning Prevention Week, we would like to highlight the dangers of open water and encourage people, whatever their age, to take extra care and make sure they know the SAFE Code:

Spot – Spot the dangers; Look for dangers whenever you are near water.

Advice – Take advice: Read the signs, ask lifeguards and adults.

Friend – Go with a friend: Always go with friends or family, it's more fun and they can get help in an emergency.

Emergency – Know what to do in an emergency: Call 999 and shout for help; never go in to the water to help someone.

Station Commander Crebbin urged everyone to also take note of the following water safety advice:

Don't jump or dive into open water unless you know the depth. Submerged objects like rocks may not be visible and can cause serious impact injuries.

Be aware that there may be strong currents, even where the surface of the water appears calm. Don't go near weirs, locks, pipes and sluices.

Take notice of warning signs, safety information or flags near the water's edge.

Water can be very cold even in the summer causing cramp and breathing difficulties which can affect everyone regardless of their swimming ability.

Keep away from the river's edge and closely supervise young children at all times.

Wear the recommended safety equipment for your activity, eg life jackets/helmets.

Be warned - airbeds, etc. can be carried into deep water and may not keep you afloat.

Consuming alcohol may impair your ability and judgment – alcohol and swimming should never be mixed.

Get trained in life saving and resuscitation techniques.

Teach children to swim and not to go into the water alone.

Visit HWFRS's website at www.hwfire.org.uk for additional water safety information or www.drowningpreventionweek.org.uk or @HWFireSafety