FIRE bosses in Warwickshire are warning residents to be mindful of the risks around bodies of water when holidaying this summer.
Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service is taking part in a national Be Water Aware campaign to encourage people not to be complacent when spending time in and around water, as people head to the coast and to beauty spots around the UK amid the easing of Covid-19 restrictions.
The campaign is aiming to make people aware of the risks and keep safe, as figures reveal that 223 people died from drowning in the UK in 2019.
Chief fire officer Kieran Amos said: “Of the 223 deaths in 2019, 44 per cent of these people just happened to be near water and had no intention of entering the water which goes to show that people can find themselves unexpectedly at risk.
“Following simple advice will help reduce the deaths and many more injuries, which can be life-changing, after water related incidents. There are some small things people can do to protect themselves and others. For instance, never swim alone in case you need help, don’t drink alcohol when undertaking water related activities as it impairs judgement and your ability to swim and don’t dive or jump straight into open water as this can cause potentially fatal cold water shock even on the warmest day.”
The Fire Chiefs Council’s (FCC) advice is for members of the public to not try and rescue someone struggling but instead to call 999 and ask for the fire service if inland and the coastguard if at the coast.
FCC’s spokeswoman Dawn Whittaker said: “We want people to enjoy spending time in and around water safely and that’s why we are asking people to be water aware. By highlighting this issue and making sure simple safety messages reach them, we hope to reduce the number of these needless and preventable deaths.”
Visit www.nationalfirechiefs.org.uk/Be-Water-Aware for more information and advice.