Press release

Cumbria Fire & Rescue Service urge people to Be Water Aware

Cumbria Fire & Rescue Service is supporting the National Fire Chiefs Council's (NFCC) Be Water Aware campaign, which aims to raise awareness of water related incidents and prevent the number of drowning accidents.

image reads: "If you see someone in trouble, make the right call, call 999."

Half of accidental drownings in the UK occur when people didn't intend to go in the water, so here are some simple steps to raise awareness of the risks around water and how they can be reduced which will help prevent these deaths.

The three main types of water related accidents fire and rescue service's attend are:

  •  Rescue of people who didn’t intend to go in the water
  •  Rescue of people who were in the water intentionally and got into difficulty
  •  Rescue of people who intentionally enter the water with the intent to harm themselves

Group Manager Mike Clusker, Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service’s Prevention Lead, said:

"We want people to enjoy spending time in and around water safely. Most people would be shocked to hear the number of lives lost simply because people were spending time in and around water. These deaths are preventable, so we ask everyone to be water aware. This is because they were unaware of the risks and unprepared for the scenario of ending up in the water.”

“By highlighting this issue and making sure simple safety messages reach our communities, we hope to reduce the number of these preventable deaths. Temperatures in Cumbria have started to rise slightly, but that does not mean all of our nearby waters are safe to enter."

Stay safe this Spring and Summer by following our water safety advice:

  • If you are spending time near water, make sure you know what to do if you happened to fall in. The advice is not to panic, float on your back and then either call for help or swim to safety.
  • If you've consumed alcohol, do not enter the water, and avoid walking on routes near water.
  • Never enter the water to try and help a person or animal - always call 999 and use any water rescue equipment if it is available.
  • If you are spending time near water whether at home or abroad, make sure you are familiar with local safety information and that children are always fully and actively supervised.

Group Manager Mike Clusker added:

“Our county has lots of beauty spots near the water and they are especially nice to enjoy when the sun is shining. We don’t want to spoil people’s fun by telling them not to jump into rivers and lakes, but we do feel it is important to educate the whole community about the risk open water poses if you are not a trained professional with the correct equipment.”

“Prevention is always better than cure. We want people to enjoy the water safely and we are fully committed to preventing drowning incidents from happening in the first place. In order to do this, more education is needed, not just in schools but also through engaging with the public in awareness campaigns, so that people fully understand the risks and are better prepared.”

Across the UK, fire and rescue services have successfully reduced the number of fire deaths by focusing on prevention work and now we must apply the same principle to tackling drowning. Response is not enough - we must prevent drownings.

We will be sharing a range of resources on our website and social media channels throughout this week, so please look out for further advice. Keep up to date with the hashtag - #BeWaterAware on social media.