As The Clocks Go Back This Weekend And Darker Nights Are Once Again Upon Us- Are You Winter Water Aware?
We hope that you are looking forward to making the most of that extra hour in bed after the clocks went back marking the end of BST (British Summer Time) and reverting to GMT (Greenwich Mean Time). Of course that extra hour in bed in the morning results in the evenings getting darker earlier.
Walking, running or cycling home in the dark after a night out or a long shift you may decide to take a short cut to get home quicker which takes you close to open water.
Make sure you take care when walking past open water as what appears to be straight forward in the light can be totally confusing in the dark. Walkers and runners have the highest incidence of accidental drowning year on year.
The RLSS (Royal Lifesaving Society) indicate that from 2012-2016, 300 people unnecessarily lost their lives to drowning in the UK whilst running or walking by the water – that’s an average of 60 lives lost per year. An additional 35 people per year drowned while walking home intoxicated. Thirty nine percent of those accidental drownings took place at the coast, twenty five percent at a river and eleven percent at a canal.
Here are some top tips to help keep you safe whilst out walking or running during the winter months:
- Be aware of your surroundings and take notice of any warning signs when out and about
- When running or walking next to open water, stay well clear of bank edges and keep to paths
- Always try and walk or run with a friend
- Let someone know where you are going and what time you will be back
- Carry a means of ‘calling for help’ such as a fully charged mobile phone in a waterproof case.
- If you are at the coast check out the tide times and weather before you head out of the door
- If you end up in the water float on your back rather than trying to swim
- If you hear or see an animal or person in difficulty in the water, don’t enter the water dial ‘999’ ask for the Coastguard at the coast or on the River Thames; and for all other inland waterways ask for the Fire Service
- As with all activities take on board the latest government safety advice regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Avon Fire and Rescue Service have highlighted the Stay Safe Around Water message by using the social media #MatesMatter and encouraging the sports team mantra of looking after the team. Our advice is to always check your mates have got home safely by messaging or phoning them. Your phone call could just save their life.
John Homer RNLI Community Safety Adviser says “winter time is still a great time to visit the coast, we have 19 miles of coastline in Thanet to explore, but taking a few precautions can really help prevent putting yourself and others in danger. Stay safe”.
Other useful links
Avon Fire and Rescue Service
National Fire Chief’s Council