Protecting new students from water tragedy
Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service has joined forces with other Worcester organisations to help protect new students during their university Welcome Week.
Following the tragic drowning of Thomas Jones in his first week at University of Worcester in September 2018, this year the message to students and young people is to stay safe after a night out by avoiding both open water and walking home alone.
Thomas’s parents Vicki and Ian Jones attended the Home and Dry event, beneath the Sabrina Bridge over the River Severn in Worcester, to help encourage young people to understand the risks of being alone around open water.
Crew from the HWFRS Swift Water and Flood Rescue team demonstrated how a ‘throw line’ can help save someone in the water – including to the University of Worcester Student Union President, Harry Lonsdale.
Station Commander Amy Bailey from HWFRS said: “In the 10 years from 2009-2019, 38 people died from water-related incidents in Herefordshire and Worcestershire – we’re hoping that this new term will see no increase in this figure.
“HWFRS is working with the Police and Crime Commissioner’s office, other search and rescue organisations, the police, charities, and Street Pastors, to encourage young people to stay safe during their first weeks away from home.
“Cold water shock can kill even the strongest swimmer, especially when alcohol is involved. So with the Royal Life Saving Society, we’re funding more throw lines along the river so members of the public help anyone in the water even before the emergency services are called to an incident.”