Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Week Launches

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Water safety week 2018Drowning is one of the UK’s leading causes of accidental death. Each year more than 300 people drown after tripping, falling or just by underestimating the risks associated with being near water. Many more people are left with life changing injuries in water related incidents.

The latest Water Safety Forum statistics relate to 2016 and show there were 648 water related fatalities, 315 of these were accidental drownings.

This week, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service is supporting the National Fire Chief’s Council’s Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Week which runs until 29th April.

Firefighters from across the Service have planned a number of safety activities over the next week:

  • Firefighters and Community Safety Advisors will be visiting schools in around the county.
  • Firefighters from Morecambe practising rescuing a casualty stuck in mud by Stone Jetty at 15:00 on Sunday 29th April.

Just in the last two weeks, there have been two water incidents in Lancaster. One incident, on 11thApril, saw firefighters rescue an 10 year old boy stuck in mud at St George’s Quay. The second incident occurred on Sunday 15th April after a 14 year old was trapped on an island at Skerton Weir. Fortunately, a passing canoeist rescued the girl before firefighters arrived at the scene.

In June 2014, 17-year-old James Goodship died in a lake at Smithy Lane, Colne, when he swam for the bank from a raft he and friends had constructed to get onto the water. Firefighters undertook extensive searches by boat and along the fringes of the lake, with underwater searches conducted by police divers but James had already, unfortunately, died.

Following this tragic accident, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service created a video highlighting the dangers of open water called “James drowned, I nearly did” which can be viewed here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MzpasznPSE

Group Manager Mark Hutton, Community Protection Manager for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service says:

“There are many hidden dangers of swimming in open water. The shock of cold water can get even strong swimmers into difficulty, it doesn’t matter how fit and healthy you are, the water is always stronger. The water can be deep, submerged objects may not be visible and it’s difficult to estimate the depth before you get in. Finally you may be able to jump in to water but there are not always suitable places to climb out.”

More information about the events we have planned during the week can be found on our website.