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