Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service is urging parents to make sure their children know how to stay safe and enjoy the water this summer.
With temperatures rising in the coming days and many of us opting for staycations once again this year, the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK), fears that families will flock to beaches and inland water locations this summer, without considering the potential dangers, putting themselves and others at risk. Or for those of us who will be venturing abroad for their summer holiday, they may find themselves using non-lifeguarded pools and therefore be at risk if they do not have the necessary water safety skills.
Figures indicate that around 25 per cent of primary pupils leave school unable to swim, and experts fear that as a result of the pandemic many young people lacking the ability to swim or self-rescue.
The RLSS UK’s national Drowning Prevention Week campaign begins this year running from 18-25 June 2022.
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.
Kirsty McCreesh, Group Manager for Prevention at Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service says:
“We are proud to play our part in ensuring our families have a safe summer. We recognise how vitally important it is for children to know how to stay safe near water, and urge our parents to access RLSS UK’s free water safety resources on the charity’s website, which include fantastic theme week lesson plans to allow schools to incorporate the resources into our existing lessons. We want pupils to enjoy all of the fun and benefits of being in and around water but be educated on how to do that safely.”
“During periods of warm weather, we encourage people to never swim alone, don’t swim too far from the shore and find open water where there is a lifeguard. Despite the air temperature being warm, the water is usually a lot colder than it looks and if there is a current, it could be a lot stronger than you think.
“If you get into difficulties, stay calm, float on your back and call for help. If you see someone else struggling in inland water, call 999 and ask for the FRS. If you are at the coast, it is the Coastguard who need to be called to the rescue.”
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 and others 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.”
Visit www.rlss.org.uk to access the charity’s free water safety resources.