Lifejackets are an essential piece of safety kit whilst out on the water whatever activity you are taking part in. Whatever the weather or sea conditions our advice is always to wear a lifejacket or personal floatation device (PFD). Lifejackets are useless stored away in a bag, they need to be worn.
On Tuesday evening (13th January 2021) our Lifeboat Community Safety Team kick started their 2021 on-line training programme by hosting a workshop to refresh their knowledge and skills on lifejackets. If you are a follower of our lifesaving work you will be aware that we conduct lifejacket clinic’s at local yacht club and lifeboat stations to help check lifejackets and keep their wearers/owners safe.
Incase you weren’t aware January is Walk Your Dog Month and what better way to kick start your New Years Resolutions by getting out in the great outdoors and walking off some of that festive food and drink?
With obvious health benefits for both you and your dog(s), this awareness month is a great way to help dust off the January blues, get out and about, meet other dog walkers and improve your own and your dogs well being.
There is nothing better than going out for a walk along the coast with your doggie, however, lifeboat crews and Coastguard Rescue Teams are regularly called out to dogs and their owners who have got into difficulty at the coast. Here are some tips to help you have an enjoyable, but safe time :
Always carry a means of ‘calling for help’ such as a fully charged mobile phone in a waterproof case and have it within easy reach
2. Let someone know what your route will be and the latest time you will return. Why not use the SafeTrx app or download What3Words app?
3. Check the weather and tides before you venture out using either local tide tables or a smart device ap
4. Heed local warning information advice
5. Be aware of your surroundings at all times, it is very easy to be distracted
6. Keep your dog on a lead if you are going to be on cliff paths or close to the sea. Cliff edges are dangerous and should be avoided at all costs
7. If your dog gets into difficulty in the water or falls down a cliff call ‘999’ and ask for the Coastguard, don’t try and attempt a rescue yourself. The Coastguard can mobilise specialist search and rescue teams.
8. Wear the right clothing for the activity, what appears a nice day when you start off can easily change
We hope you have a great time walking your dog(s) along the coast! Keep a look out on our social media channels as we run Coastal Dog Safety Stands from time to time around the Thanet coastline often giving out free doggie treats!
The Water Savvy Day is held yearly at Bewl Water, Lamberhurst, Kent. It is organised jointly by Kent Fire and Rescue Service; and East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service. The aim of this free fun day is to learn about how to stay safe around water. Our team thoroughly enjoyed working with the Gravesend Community Safety team on the day to share key safety messages about how to stay safe at the beach and coast. Some these will be mentioned later on.
Leanne McMahon, Group Manager for Community Safety at Kent Fire and Rescue Service, says about the day: “Our Water Savvy Fun Day is a fun day out for all the family, providing a rare glimpse into the fire services’ water rescue capabilities, and an opportunity to learn really important lifesaving skills. “Water safety is really important to us, and we are working hard to educate residents and visitors to the area about the dangers and how to stay safe while still enjoying being in and around water.”
One of our Gravesend colleagues chatting to children during the Water Savvy Day
The day was jam packed with plenty of activities and demonstrations including: the inter Fire and Rescue Service water rescue competition which this year was won narrowly by East Sussex; and Kent Police’s drone was put through it’s operational paces. Crowds were also treated to a display by the Police’s Marine and Diving Unit, as well as the fabulous Newfoundland Rescue Dogs, hands-on practical CPR skills with the Royal Lifesaving Soiety, further demonstrations from the Kent Lowland Search and Rescue team, Seaford Lifeguards and Sussex Flood Unit.
Fire & Rescue Service water rescue competition
Our RNLI Community Safety stand proved very popular with children and adults like. Some of the key messages we highlighted included:
Follow the Water Safety Code
Stop & Think (Look for dangers and always read the signs)
Stay together – never swim alone, always go with friends or family
Call ‘999’ or ‘112’ ask for the Coastguard (at the coast) Fire Service (rivers, canals & inland waterways) and shout for help
If you do fall into the water unexpectedly ‘Float on your back and try to hold onto something that floats,
The Water Savvy Day is such a great day to learn more about water safety, but also enjoy the wonderful Bewl Water. Keep an eye out for future Water Savvy Day events as they are great fun for all the family.
One of the fabulous Newfoundland dogs enjoying a rest after a rescue demo
A member of the Deal HM Coastguard Team kitted ready to deploy on the joint RNLI and Coastguard water rescue exercise at Walmer RNLI Station Open Day
Last weekend saw our team out and about covering anumber of events. On Saturday morning, three of the team made the short journey to Walmer to support the fantastic annual lifeboat station open day providing a lifejacket clinic and sharing drowing prevention advice in support of the Royal Lifesaving Society Drowning Prevention week.
Members of our Team with their Drowning Prevention & Lifejacket stand
The annual lifeboat station open day is a fantastic opportunity to get up close to both of the station’s Atlantic 85 and ‘D’ class inshore lifeboats, as well as being able to chat to the volunteer crew about their lifesaving work. The open day also helps raise much needed funds towards the running and up-keep of the Lifeboat station.
The open day this year featured static displays from the Community First Responders, Deal HM Coastguard Team who are highly trained in mud, cliff and water rescue as well as advanced first aid and high risk missing person searching; Kent Fire and Rescue Service, the British Divers Marine Life Rescue team. The open day operated alongside the Walmer Churches Summer Fete who provided some very enjoyable choral entertainment.
Deal Carnival Queen’s supporting Respect the Water badges on their sashes
The lifeboat crew also took part in a mock rescue in the arena and also out on the water with the help of the Dover All-Weather Lifeboat. A thoroughly brilliant day showcasing the fabulous lifesaving capabilities of the volunteer lifeboat crews and HM Coastguard. A special mention must be made of all people involved behind the scenes that work tirelessly to make a lifeboat station open day a huge success: the fundraisers, cake bakers, refreshment providers, lifeboat shop staff and children’s painting table/entertainment.
(Pictured above) Neil – RNLI Community Safety Advisor
Welcome to the start of Volunteers’ Week which is a chance to celebrate and say thank you for the fantastic contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK. It takes place 1-7 June every year and is an opportunity to celebrate volunteering in all its diversity.
During the week we will be introducing you to some members of our team. Today, we would like to introduce you to Neil. Neil is our throw bag trainer (Community Responder Scheme) who is responsible for training members of staff from bars, cafes and restaurants in how to use throw bags as part of the RNLI scheme to make water rescue equipment available at key venues to rescue a person should they end up in the water for whatever reason. Inaddition to this traning Neil can also be seen at events helping to share key safety messages on how to stay safe whilst enjoying time at the coast. He is also a long serving member of the Ramsgate All Weather Lifeboat crew, available 24/7 on a pager to answer emergency calls saving lives at sea. Neil also helps run the fantastic Thanet Lifeguard Club which is a hugely successful lifesaving club affliated to the Royal Lifesaving Society.
Saturday 1st June marks the start of Volunteers’ Week which is a chance to celebrate and say thank you for the fantastic contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK. Throughout the week we will be introducing you to some of our team members and the contribution they make to preventing incidents and drownings at the coast. Stay tuned to find out more.
Monday 27th May marks the start of the National Boat Fire Safety Week. The aim of this week is to raise awareness of how boaters on both coastal and inland waterways can prevent fire and carbon monoxide incidents and how to plan to react if an incident occur. Many fires and carbon monoxide incidents happen as a result of human error, poor installation of equipment/appliances and on occasion, dangerous practices by boaters.
This is campaign is also backed by the National Fire Chief’s Council and is actively supported by our team. Recently we undertook to ‘walk the pontoons’ at Ramsgate Harbour chatting to boat owners about safety including fire safety onboard their vessel. During this highly important campaign we will be posting some boat fire safety tips on our social media channels.
Lifejackets are such an essential piece of lifesaving kit and should be worn whatever water activity you are taking part in at all times. On Sunday, our team visited Ramsgate harbour and carried out lifejacket checks for sailors and crews who were moored up in the harbour. We found some that were well maintained and cared for and also anumber of jackets that were faulty and would not have worked if the wearer had fallen into water and needed to activate them. Here are our top 10 tips on lifejackets:
1. Inspect the outside of the jacket for wear and tear. Take a detailed look at the cover for any damage, webbing, harnesses, crotch straps, sizing and fit.
2. Even if it is a jacket with an inspection window, undoe the lifejacket at the point next to the inflator.
3. Check the gas cylinder is hand tight, or if it’s a bayonet type, is it firmly locked in position.
4. If the lifejacket is new to you, remove the cylinder and check it has not been fired.
5. Replace the cylinder if required.
6. Look for the green coloured indicators on the trigger and if fitted, on the automatic firing system.
7. Keep spare cyclinders and replacement parts for the automatic firing system on hand. So, that the jacket can be re-armed. Or, keep a spare jacket for each person onboard. The replacement parts are relatively inexpensive to purchase.
8. Get the jacket serviced at the manufacturer’s recommended intervals. This is highly recommended.
9. Undertake a thorough inspection of each and every lifejacket at least once a year – more often if the lifejacket is used frequently.
10. Conduct an inflation test of the bladder annually. Inflate the bladder through the oral inflation tube via a low pressure air pump or simply blowing into the tube. Leave inflated for at least 24 hours in a termperature stable environment to check the bladders integrity.
Members of the Community Safety Team chatting to a boat owner during a lifejacket check at Ramsgate Harbour
It’s the start of the National Fire Chief’s Annual Drowning Prevention week today (Monday 29th April). The campaign week is designed to highlight the risk of accidental drowning. Drowning is unfortunately amongst the leading causes of accidental death in the UK. As part of our on-going water safety and drowning preventative role we are teaming up with Fire and Rescue Service’s across the UK to help share key safety messages and advice to help make people aware of the risks and dangers when around water, what to do if they fall into water; and how to help someone who is in difficulty in the water.
In 2017, 255 people accidentally drowned in UK; 100 people were found to have drugs or alcohol in their system. In 50% of these accidental deaths people weren’t even taking part in water-based activities Figures also reveal that 106 people drowned whilst out walking or running (source National Water Safety Forum). Men also account for the greatest number of deaths from accidental drowning.
Each day this week we will be sharing key drowning prevention advice. So, stay tuned for further posts on our social media channels using the #BeWaterAware. If you should hear or see a person or animal in difficulty in the water at the coast call ‘999’ ask for the Coastguard; if you are inland at a lake, river, canal or other area of water call ‘999’ ask for the Fire Service.
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