Skip to main content
Link to Search

Stay Safe Near Water – Be Water Aware Campaign 25 April – 1 May

As the weather begins to improve Firefighters are asking people to stay safe when spending time in and around water.

The call comes as part the National Fire Chiefs Council’s (NFCC) Be Water Aware campaign which runs from 25 April – 1 May 2022.

Nationally nearly 50 percent of people who accidentally drowned in 2020 had no intention of entering the water. Many others underestimate the risk of jumping into cold water. In both instances the effects of cold-water shock and not knowing how to self-rescue can cause even the strongest swimmers to drown.

In 2021 Derbyshire Firefighters attended a total of 34 water rescue incidents, tragically seven were fatal incidents. To date during 2022, Firefighters have attended eight water related incidents, three of which have been fatal incidents.

Be Water Aware

Even on a warm day the temperature in open water can remain very cold, causing a physical reaction which can make it difficult to control breathing, cause panic and make it difficult to swim.

If you do find yourself in difficulty in the water, don’t panic, fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back in the water and ‘Float to Live’ on your back until the effects of cold-water shock pass. Then you can call for help or swim to safety.

If someone is in trouble in water, call 999 and ask for the fire service. You should never enter the water to attempt a rescue.

Dawn Whittaker, NFCC’s lead for drowning prevention said “Most people would be shocked to hear that in 2020, 254 lives were lost simply because people were spending time in and around water. These deaths are preventable, so we ask everyone to be water aware.”

Derbyshire’s Group Manager, Lee Williams said “We know there are many areas of Derbyshire with enticing open water such as quarries, lakes, reservoirs and rivers that people are attracted to when the weather turns warmer.

“Sadly, all too often our Firefighters see the impact of cold-water shock, hidden debris and fast flowing currents that can quickly turn a summer dip into a deadly nightmare.

“We will continue to work with our partners to raise awareness of these dangers, while continuing to educate people about how to self-rescue. Our aim is to reduce the number of water related incidents we attend and prevent devastating fatal incidents.

“Our message is quite simple, be aware of the dangers, and if you do find yourself in difficulty, float to live. Lay on your back, put your arms and legs out like a star so you float. You can then catch your breath and either swim to safety or shout for help.”

Be Water Aware Drowning prevention and water safety #BeWaterAware