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Water safety advice for Drowning Prevention Week

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Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) is joining fire and rescue services across the UK in supporting the Chief Fire Officers Association's (CFOA's) Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Week 2016, which is taking place from 25 April – 1 May 2016.

The campaign is raising awareness of the everyday dangers of being near water, as 44% of people who drowned in 2014 had no intention of entering the water. Trips, falls or underestimating the risks associated with being near water meant that 302 people lost their lives. Adhering to some simple advice can reduce your risk of ending up in the water and by asking people to 'be water aware' fire and rescue services aim to reduce the number of fatalities.

CFOA's water safety lead, Dawn Whittaker, said: "Most people would be shocked to hear that those people drowning just happen to be near water such as runners, walkers and fisherman. They are unaware of the risks and are totally unprepared for the scenario of ending up in the water. By highlighting this issue and making sure simple safety messages reach them we hope to reduce the number of these needless deaths.

Station Commander Alan Haley said: "With the weather getting warmer we are keen to highlight water safety awareness to children, their parents and as wide a cross-section of the local community as possible. We would like to highlight the dangers of open water and encourage people, whatever their age, to take extra care. People do not understand that even the strongest swimmers can find themselves in difficulty, as the cold water causes muscles to cramp. There is then a strong possibility that they cannot swim due to muscular cramps which can then lead to drowning."

HWFRS will support Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Week by providing advice and information to members of the public regarding the dangers of water and what they should do if they see such an incident occur. Firefighters will be joined by West Mercia Police and Severn Area Rescue Association (SARA) on Tuesday 26 April at Weavers Wharf, Kidderminster to highlight these dangers, from 14.30pm to 16.00pm.

Issued by:
Katie Morris
Corporate Communications Administrator
01905 368 312