Agencies unite to call for no more water deaths
Emergency services and charity agencies from across West Mercia have met to discuss water safety, as part of a campaign being backed by the Police and Crime Commissioner.
Representatives from RLSS UK, West Mercia Police, West Mercia Search and Rescue, Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service and the RNLI met with the Commissioner, and water safety ambassador Kirsty Walsh, who was widowed when her husband drowned, to identify and build on best practice, and look at ways to educate and inform communities, in order to keep them safe.
The agencies are working together to call for no more deaths in rivers and other open water, after 429 people drowned in England last year*.
Commissioner John Campion said “There’s been some excellent work across a range of agencies and sectors, and I am pleased to lead this drive, bringing together a range of partners with the same focus to reduce open water deaths. Education and engagement is vitally important, not only to protect communities but to ensure emergency and voluntary resources aren’t drawn to incidents that could have been prevented. I look forward to working collectively to build awareness of this important issue.”
The Commissioner recently gave his backing to West Mercia Search and Rescue’s ‘Home and Dry’ campaign. Their Water Safety Course is suitable for all ages, and is available online and offline with information on the dangers of water and how to rescue someone in trouble.
RLSS UK’s Community Drowning Prevention Co-ordinator, Laurence Hickin added: “With the launch of our own Water Smart Award this summer, it’s clear that there’s a dedicated drive to educate and inform people, to insure against the tragic loss of life to drowning. A multi-agency approach to the issue, is just one, very positive way of getting important water safety messages to a wide audience.”
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*Data is taken from the National Water Safety Forum, 2017 Annual Fatal Incident Report, and covers all types of drowning http://www.nationalwatersafety.org.uk/waid/reports.asp