Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service is supporting a national campaign to raise awareness of water safety.

Drowning 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 statistics show that the total number of UK water related fatalities in 2016 was 648 and of these 315 were accidental drownings.

Led by the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), the ‘Be Water Aware’ campaign highlights the risks so that people can enjoy the water safely, and not end up as one of these shocking statistics.

The campaign runs from Monday 23rd to Sunday 29th April and offers the following safety advice:

  • If you’re going for a walk or run near water stick to proper pathways and stay clear of the waters edge

  • Make sure conditions are safe, avoid walking or running near water in the dark, when it is slippery or in bad weather

  • If you’ve had alcohol don’t enter the water, avoid walking alone and avoid walks 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’re spending time near water – whether at home or abroad make sure you’re familiar with local safety information

Cllr Nigel Moor, cabinet member for fire, planning and infrastructure, said: “Gloucestershire’s Fire and Rescue 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.

“Come along on Saturday 28th April when one of our fire engines will be on display at Gloucester’s ASDA store on Bruton Way. Local firefighters will be on hand from 10am – 5pm to answer any questions and offer all kinds of safety tips

The NFCC’s water safety lead, chief fire officer Dawn Whittaker said, “Most people would be shocked to hear that those people drowning just happen to e near water such as runners and walkers. They’re unaware of the risks and totally unprepared for the scenario of ending up in the water.

“By highlighting the issue and making sure simple safety messages reach them we hope to reduce the number of these needless deaths.”

Stewart Edgar, chief fire officer, said: “In Gloucestershire we have lots of beautiful waterside walks, and in the city we have a variety of entertainment venues around the docks, but if someone fell into the water, would you know what to do? Water Safety Week is about spreading the message to #BeWaterAware.”

For more information and safety tips visit: https://rlss.org.uk/water-safety/water-safety/ or https://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/glosfire/your-safety/safety-outdoors/water-safety/

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