Water Safety GMFRS

Fire service highlights dangers of water ahead of Drowning Prevention Week

GREATER Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) continues to remind people of the dangers of swimming and jumping into open water as it launches its annual water safety campaign.

The campaign launches ahead of the Royal Life Saving Society’s Drowning Prevention Week, which will take place from 17 June to 24 June 2023.

It comes as figures released show that 226 people in the UK accidentally drowned in 2022.

With the prolonged hot weather the service has been busy spreading safety advice on the dangers of water, and what to do should anyone ever find someone, or themselves, in difficulty in water, including ‘Float to Live’ and ‘Call, Tell, Throw’.

In the last decade the number of water related incidents that GMFRS have attended has doubled, and of those incidents 65 have sadly been fatal.

Water related incidents also tend to occur more over the summer with the periods of warmer weather. The water can seem an inviting way to cool off, but the dangers often cannot be seen. 

Throughout Drowning Prevention Week GMFRS will be sharing key safety advice and guidance, including:

  • Float To Live: this mean tilting your head back, extending your arms and legs and slowly moving them in circles to stay afloat
  • Call, Tell, Throw: if you see someone in difficulty in water, Call 999 and ask for the fire service (or the coastguard if at sea), Tell them help is coming and tell them the Float to Live advice, and if you are near a throw line, float, or reach pole, then Throw that to them. Do not go in the water yourself - wait for the fire service to come
  • Jumping in water can prove fatal - water is often a lot shallower than it appears, and hidden hazards lurk below the surface
  • Even in hot weather the water is a lot colder, and jumping in can lead to cold water shock which can be fatal, even if you’re a strong swimmer
  • Do not enter the water to rescue your dog - you will put yourself at more risk
  • Water and alcohol do not mix - avoid going near waterways when you’ve had a drink

Billy Fenwick, Head of Prevention at GMFRS, said:

“We want to educate people on the dangers of open water. Cold water shock can kill even strong swimmers, and people can become caught up in underwater hazards and drown. It is not worth dying for a dip.

“Should anyone find themselves in trouble in the water please remember: ‘Float to Live’. It could just save your life. If you see someone in difficulty in the water then call 999 and ask for fire, tell them to float and throw them a float aid if there is one nearby.”

This year’s campaign follows on from a variety of social media messages and media interviews that have taken place during May and June’s hot weather. Educational messaging will continue throughout summer with digital displays across Greater Manchester in areas that are popular with young people over summer, sharing messages of staying safe around water.

Videos will be shared from family and friends of young people who have sadly lost their lives to drowning, they speak emotionally of the impact such tragic events have had on them.  

Deputy Mayor for Policing, Crime, Criminal Justice and Fire, Kate Green, said:

“We’ve had warm weather for several weeks now and we’ve been busy sharing key water safety messages and crews have been doing engagement work with communities.

“We sadly do still see young people jumping in and while it might look like fun, I want to remind everyone that just this week we’ve again seen a tragic incident that reminds us of what the water can do. Please don’t risk it.”

The #Safe4Summer campaign runs alongside the water safety campaign and was launched last week in partnership with GMFRS, Greater Manchester Police, Greater Manchester Combined Authority and the 10 local authorities that make up Greater Manchester. Water safety messages are reinforced through this campaign over the summer months.

You can follow the hashtags #WaterSafety and #DrowningPrevention on social media throughout summer and follow the campaign activity on GMFRS’ social media channels: Twitter @manchesterfire, Instagram @manchesterfire, and Facebook: GMFRS.

You can also visit the GMFRS website for more information on water safety and the campaign.

16/06/2023 12:25 PM