Fire service highlights the dangers of water ahead of Drowning Prevention Week

Ahead of Drowning Prevention Week, the fire service has highlighted the dangers of water.
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Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) continues to warn people of the risk that water poses and the dangers of swimming or jumping into open water as it launches the annual water safety campaign.

The campaing launches ahead of the week long awareness which will take place from June 17 to 24 June.

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It comes as figures show that 226 people in the UK accidentally drowned in 2022 and with the prolonged hot weather the service has been busy spreading safety advice.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service is educating people on the dangers that open water psoes.Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service is educating people on the dangers that open water psoes.
Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service is educating people on the dangers that open water psoes.

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.

These incidents also attend to occur over the summer months, as water is an appealing 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
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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 campaign follows on from a number of media interviews that have taken place during May and June’s hot weather and educational messages will continue throughout the summer months .

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.

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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.”

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.