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Be water aware

As many people are venturing out into the countryside for a walk, or to the local pub which may be close to river or canal, Derbyshire FRS is asking everyone to think Water Safety and take extra care.

Few people would think they might become a water incident statistic; but the fact is, in the UK in 2019 more people died from accidental drowning than cyclists did on the road.

From 26 April – 2 May the Service will be supporting Be Water Aware, a campaign to encourage people to be safe around water, by being aware of the risks.

By following our simple advice everyone can stay safe when they are around open water. Our advice is:

  • Never enter the water – no matter how inviting it may look!
  • Avoid walking on routes near water if you have been drinking alcohol.
  • Don’t dive or jump into open water, this can cause potentially fatal cold water shock even on the warmest day. You also don’t know what’s below the surface of the water – rocks or other hidden debris can lead to serious or fatal injuries.
  • Always supervise children around water - drowning can happen fast and silently.
  • If you find yourself unexpectedly in the water, don’t panic, extend your arms and legs out and float on your back until the effect of cold water shock passes.
  • Never enter the water to try and rescue someone or an animal, call 999 and ask for the Fire Service.

Station Manager Steve Ratcliffe said: “In 2019 there were 223 accidental drowning’s nationally, highlighting why we need to continue to raise awareness of the dangers associated with open water. We want people to enjoy spending time around water, but we need them to do this safely, so that’s why we are asking people to be water aware.

“Open water may look safe and inviting, but it can be very dangerous due very cold water temperatures, hidden currents, fast flowing water, hidden rocks, rubbish or debris, and water pollution that could make you extremely ill.

“On the hottest days the water temperature remains cold, causing your heart to race and your breathing to quicken. This can quickly lead to panic and as your muscles start to cramp due to the cold water shock, even the strongest swimmers can quickly get into difficulty.

“To keep you safe, our advice is simple, no matter how tempting, keep out, do not enter the water.”