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Be Water Aware

Firefighters are urging the public not to take risks when near the water and warned that doing so can have tragic consequences.


The stark message comes from County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service (CDDFRS) as it marks ‘Be Water Aware Week,’ which runs from April 22 to 28.


The National Fire Chiefs Council’s drowning prevention and water safety campaign aims to inform people on what to do if they fall into water and how to help someone who is struggling.


Crew Manager, Scott Walters, from Durham Blue Watch, said people should remember to Call, Tell, Throw.


“When it’s warm and sunny, going into open water can be tempting,” he said.


“But we’re urging the public not to take risks and to ‘Be Water Aware.’


“We want to make people aware of the dangers when around water.


“The water can still be cold enough to induce Cold Water Shock, which can seriously affect your breathing and movement.


“If you see someone in difficulty in the water, call 999 and ask for the Fire Service or the Coastguard if you’re at the beach.


“Explain where you are. If you are unsure of the location, look for landmarks or use the ‘what3words’ app.


“Tell the person in the water not to panic and to float on their back.


“Throw them something that floats such as lifebelts or throw bags if nearby.


“If they are attached to a rope, make sure you hold or secure the end so you can pull the person in.


“If there is no lifesaving equipment, look at what else you can use – even a ball can help.”


The Service is reminding people that if you manage to get the person out of the water, they will always need medical attention.


Even if they seem fine, they may have hypothermia or water in the lungs.


Crew Manager Walters continued: “If you fall in the water, float on your back.


“Only once you are floating call for help or try to steer with your arms towards shore.”


CDDFRS is working with partners, including Darlington Borough Council and Durham Constabulary, as part of the Open Water Safety Group to raise awareness of the dangers in and around water and promote key safety messages.


For more information about the Be Water Aware campaign, visit the NFCC website here.


For more water safety advice, visit the CDDFRS website here.


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