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          Be Water Aware

CFOA Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Week

 Fire and rescue services across the UK are supporting the Chief Fire Officers Association’s (CFOA) Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Week 2016, which will run from 25 April – 1 May.

The campaign will focus on raising awareness of the dangers of being near water and so fire and rescue services will be asking people to ‘Be Water Aware’.

Messages will be targeted at people who do not intend to enter the water but undertake everyday activities near water. Some of these groups, such as runners and walkers, have been identified as being the most at risk of drowning. 44% of people who drown had no intention of entering the water and may not even realise their everyday activity is putting them at risk.

Fire and rescue services will be taking part in the week, by organising events, delivering information, and working with partners to highlight the risks to individuals and the community.

The campaign comes after the recent launch of the UK’s first Drowning Prevention Strategy which was created by the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF), an association of organisations that have a vested interest in water safety, and in which CFOA is involved.

The aim of the strategy is to reduce the number of drownings in the UK by 50% by 2026.

Dawn Whittaker said: “While fire and rescue services have no statutory responsibility to deliver water safety education or information, many services already offer this as part of their commitment to preventing accidents, protecting the public and saving lives.

Many fire and rescue services have specially-trained personnel able to carry out water rescues, as illustrated during the wide scale flooding in recent months. Services frequently have large bodies of water in their communities – in rivers, canals, reservoirs, dis-used quarry sites or indeed on the coast – which form an important part of their community risk assessments.”

CFOA is committed to building relationships with organisations and partners who are focused on water safety to reduce the 400 accidental drownings that occur each year in the UK.”

To find out more about the campaign please get in touch with CFOA, look out for #BeWaterAware on twitter or contact your local fire and rescue service to find out about local activities.


Notes to Editor:

  1. 2014 fatality statistics from the National Water Safety Forum’s Water Incident Database (WAID).
  2. 132 runners and walkers accidently drowned in comparison to the 36 who died swimming.
  3. The key objective of the week will be to raise awareness of the risks of being near water and publicise safety advice so people know what to do in an emergency.
  4. CFOA’s Water Safety Workgroup, with the RLSS, has supported the establishment of an All Party Parliamentary Working Group on Drowning Prevention, which has over 20 MPs.
  5. CFOA took part in developing the National Drowning Prevention Strategy, underpinned by data from the National Water Safety Forum’s Water Incident Database (WAID), which is co-ordinated by RoSPA.
  6. CFOA's Water Safety Lead Dawn Whittaker also sits on the National Water Safety Forum.
2016 Drowning Prevention Week