The dangers of being near rivers, lakes and ponds are being highlighted to help prevent people drowning.
Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service is urging people to “Be Water Aware” during water safety week, starting on Monday (April 25).
Group Commander Steve Humm said: “Jogging, walking the dog, coming home after having a drink and other everyday activities are made much more dangerous if near water - 44 per cent of people who drowned in 2014 had no intention of entering the water. Trips, falls or taking risks near water meant that 302 people lost their lives.
“Taking some simple precautions reduces the risk of ending up in the water. By asking people to ‘be water aware’ fire and rescue services aim to reduce the number of fatalities due to drowning. We’ll be out giving advice during Drowning Prevention Week, come along and find out how to Be Water Aware!”
During the week firefighters will be in Bedford spreading safety messages:
- Wixams Open Day, April 24, 2pm to 4pm, Wixams Village Hall – On show will be the Water Rescue Boat, water rescue crew and a Fire Engine. Find out more about Water Safety and Drowning Prevention.
- Bedford Town Centre Embankment, April 29, Bedford Firefighters will be on hand to talk to local people about water safety and show their specialist rescue equipment.
- Harrold Country Park, April 30, 11am to 1pm, Meet local on-call Firefighters from Harrold and colleagues from Bedford who will demonstrate their water safety skills and equipment as well as bringing along a fire engine to give people the chance to find out more about water safety.
Dawn Whittaker, CFOA’s lead on water safety, added “Most people would be shocked to hear that those people who drowned just happened to be near water. Runners, walkers and anglers are often unaware of the risks and are totally unprepared if they end up in the water by accident. By highlighting this issue and making sure simple safety messages reach them we hope to reduce the number of these needless deaths.”
Follow @bedsfire for safety advice, or go to the Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Facebook page, or www.nationalwatersafety.org.uk/strategy