Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service supports important water safety campaign

Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service is supporting the National Fire Chief Council’s Be Water Aware campaign which runs this week until Sunday 1 May.

The campaign is warning people of the risk of accidentally drowning when in and around water. In 2020 there were 254 deaths nationally and nearly 50 percent of people who accidentally drowned had no intention of entering the water. Many others underestimate the risk of jumping into cold water. In both instances the effects of cold water shock and not knowing how to self-rescue can cause even the strongest swimmers to drown.

Unfortunately, we have seen a number of incidents in Shropshire in recent weeks including one where a man sadly lost his life and others where the person needed hospital treatment. The exact circumstances of how these people came to be in the water are not clear at this time, but these incidents do serve as a stark reminder to be careful near water.

Group Commander, Russ Hales, Head of Protection and Prevention said:

“With the Bank Holiday coming up this weekend and temperatures expecting to rise, it is really important we get the message across that you should always be water aware.

“We want everyone to enjoy the picturesque rivers and hot weather, but we want you to do it safely. We are deeply saddened by the recent tragedies at the River Severn and do not want to see these happening again.

“Remember that even on a warm day the temperature in open water can remain very cold, causing a physical reaction which can make it difficult to control breathing, cause panic and make it difficult to swim.

“If you do find yourself in difficulty in the water, don’t panic, fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back in the water and float on your back until the effects of cold water shock pass. Then you can call for help or swim to safety. If someone is in trouble in water, call 999. At the coast ask for the coastguard. If you are inland, ask for the fire service. You should never enter the water to attempt a rescue.”

For more water safety advice please visit our website here

26th April, 2022