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Everyday activities near water can put you at risk of drowning

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Everyday activities near water can put you at risk of drowning

Half of accidental drownings in 2017 happened when people didn't even intend to go in the water. Activities such as running, walking, fishing and cycling near water can all put you at risk of drowning.

The potentially fatal dangers of water are highlighted in the National Fire Chiefs Council's (NFCC) Be Water Aware campaign.

Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service is supporting the national week-long campaign which runs from 29 April - 5 May 2019 and aims to highlight the risk of accidental drowning.

In 2017:

  • 255 people accidentally drowned in the UK
  • around 50% of these people just happened to be near water
  • about 85% of these fatalities were male
  • in addition 75 UK nationals, mainly tourists, drowned while abroad in 2017

NFCC's Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Lead, Chief Fire Officer Dawn Whittaker, said: "Most people would be shocked to hear that those people who drowned just happened to be taking part in everyday activities near water, like going for a run or walk.

"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 and preventable deaths."

Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service's advice:

  • 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 and children are fully supervised

The fire service has successfully reduced the number of fire deaths by focusing on prevention work and now we must apply the same principle to tackling drowning.

Response is not enough - we must prevent drownings.