HWFRS backs national Drowning Prevention Week campaign

Wk21 Facebook open water post 2019

Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service is urging parents to make sure their children know how to stay safe and enjoy the water this summer.

Figures indicate that around 25 per cent of primary pupils leave school unable to swim, and experts fear that the enforced pool closures during the pandemic over the last year will leave many young people lacking the ability to swim or self-rescue.

The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK), fears that with lockdown restrictions lifting, families will flock to beaches and inland water locations this summer without considering the potential dangers, putting themselves and others at risk.

HWFRS is supporting RLSS UK’s national Drowning Prevention Week campaign, this year running from 19-26 June 2021, which aims to ensure everyone knows how to have fun and stay safe near water.

Drowning Prevention Week aims to equip everybody across the UK and Ireland with the skills and knowledge, to make the right decisions about water safety.

Over 400 people accidentally drown in the UK and Ireland every year and many more suffer injury, sometimes life-changing, when they survive drowning.

Emma Roberts, HWFRS Prevention manager said: “We are proud to play our part in ensuring families in Herefordshire & Worcestershire have a safe summer. We recognise how vitally important it is for children to know how to stay safe near water, and urge parents to access RLSS UK’s free water safety resources on the Charity’s website.”

The Royal Life Saving Society UK’s Charity Director Lee Heard, said: “The UK’s beautiful waterways should be places where everyone feels at ease, and can take pleasure from their surroundings, whatever their age, whatever their activity level. But we’re urging people to educate themselves on how to enjoy water safely, and prevent a fun day out ending in tragedy.

“The Drowning Prevention Week campaign is crucial this year. Throughout 2020 and 2021, young people have missed out on the vital opportunity to swim, leaving a dramatic gap in school swimming and water safety education.

“RLSS UK believes that through free, accessible education and training, everyone can enjoy water safely. We urge as many parents as possible to get involved with the campaign, use our free online resources, and give their children the skills to enjoy a lifetime of fun in the water.”

Between 1 Jan 2011 and 31 Dec 2020 there were 355 incidents in Herefordshire and Worcestershire involving rescues from water.

Sadly, there were 42 fatalities within this time period. Thirty-three people were taken to hospital with injuries appearing to be serious and 49 people were taken to hospital with injuries appearing to be slight. Fifteen people were given first aid at the scene.

Visit www.rlss.org.uk to access the Charity’s free water safety resources.