Emergency services, water safety charities, Manchester City Council and the Canal and Rivers Trust have joined forces to help make Manchester’s city centre waterways safer.

28 April 2016

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The Manchester Water Safety Forum has been launched to reduce water related deaths and injuries in Manchester, with the initial focus being in the city centre, where the most incidents occur.

 The group brings together experts from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS), Greater Manchester Police (GMP), Manchester City Council (MCC), CityCo, The Canal and River Trust (CRT), The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) the Drowning Prevention Charity and The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

Chair of the Forum, GMFRS Station Manager David Wilson, said: “GMFRS rescues more people from waterways in Manchester City Centre than anywhere else.

“We are very lucky to have such a fantastic network of waterways across the city centre, but these places can be become deadly at night after someone has had a few drinks.

“Around 25 per cent of people who drown have alcohol in their system and statistics from across the UK show that Saturday nights have the highest number of drownings than any other night of the week.

“The Manchester Water Safety Forum is carrying out risk assessments and exploring different ways we can make our tow paths and river banks safer.

“Our partners CityCo have been working with the North West Ambulance Service and GMFRS to train door staff and install defibrillators near the water’s edge.

“Sometimes when our crew rescue people from canals or rivers in the city centre the people they save are so drunk they don’t even know how they ended up in the water – ultimately we need people to take care of themselves and their friends on a night out.

“If you’ve had a few drinks please take a safe route home away from water – one drunken slip could end your life.”

RLSS UK’s Deputy Director of Education and Research, Mike Dunn added: “Around 400 people needlessly die from drowning in the UK every year and thousands more suffer injury, some life-changing, through near-drowning experiences. Putting these figures into context one person dies every 20 hours in the UK and a third of all 18 to 21-year-old drowning victims have alcohol in their bloodstream.

“We are thrilled this multi-agency partnership in Manchester is backing RLSS UK’s Don’t Drink and Drown campaign and messages and is going to continue to educate local people on water safety and give vital awareness on how to stay safe near water. It will potentially save lives.”

To find out more about the work of the RLSS UK and the Manchester Water Safety Forum –

 Visit our website at www.rlss.org.uk

 Follow us on Twitter – @RLSSUK

Visit our Facebook page – www.facebook.com/RLSSUK

Call – 01789 773994

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Notes to Editors –

 The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) is the drowning prevention charity.  Around 400 people drown in the UK every year and the RLSS UK aims to prevent drowning through water safety education.

Through its trading subsidiary, IQL UK, there are more than 90,000 RLSS UK Pool Lifeguards in the UK trained in the National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ). Around 95 per cent of all pool lifeguards are trained by the RLSS UK.

RLSS UK awards and programmes teach a range of lifesaving skills ranging from life support (CPR) to water survival and rescue skills. Programmes include Rookie Lifeguard (for eight to12-year–olds), Survive and Save (for 12 years+) and Save a Baby’s Life (a free course aimed at parents and carers of young children).

The RLSS UK (then the Life Saving Society) was formed in 1891. In 1904, as there was great support for the organisation from the Royal Family, the society was granted permission to use the Royal title and became the Royal Life Saving Society.

Drowning Prevention Week is the national campaign run by the Royal Life Saving Society UK to cut down the number of accidental drowning that occur each year and support families affected by drowning. The next campaign will run from June 18 – 26, 2016.

RLSS UK contact number has changed to 0300 3230 096.

 For more information and interview opportunities with RLSS UK spokesperson please contact Porcha Treanor on 01789 774 495 or email [email protected] or Olivia Healey on 01789 774 216 or email [email protected]