Bedfordshire firefighters demonstrate how to rescue someone from open water

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Firefighters visited Bedford Priory Marina to demonstrate techniques people can use if they see someone in trouble in the water.

This included a demonstration highlighting the importance of ‘Shout, Reach, Throw’ as well as instruction on CPR.

The exercise was part of The National Fire Chiefs Council Water Safety and Drowning Prevention campaign - Be Water Aware.

David Lynch, Area Community Safety Officer, explains: “Open water is much more dangerous than a swimming pool and there are no lifeguards to help if you get into trouble.

“If you see someone in trouble in open water you shouldn’t jump in and get into trouble yourself. Someone struggling in the water could easily pull you under. DON’T put yourself in danger.

“Instead keep safe, shout for help from others nearby and call 999 on your phone.

“Keep the person in the water in your sight as rescuers will want to know where they were last seen. You can reach for them with a rope, branch, paddle or anything close to hand.

“Or you could throw them anything that floats like a lifebuoy, ball or empty plastic bottle to help keep them afloat. Finally encourage anyone who has been in trouble in the water to go to hospital and keep them warm until the ambulance arrives.

“The fire service has successfully reduced the number of fire deaths by focussing on prevention work and now we must apply the same principle to tackling drowning. Response is not enough - we must prevent drownings.”

CFOA’s Water Safety lead, Dawn Whittaker, added: “Most people would be shocked to hear that those people drowning just happen to be near water such as runners, walkers and fisherman.

“They are unaware of the risks and are totally unprepared for the scenario of ending up in the water. By highlighting this issue and making sure simple safety messages reach them we hope to reduce the number of these needless deaths.”