Thanet RNLI Community Safety

Working together with partner agencies to help reduce drownings

Our team are passionately committed to reducing drowning and sharing water safety messages to all communities far and wide.  Working inconjunction with partner agenices and community groups the spread of the messages is much wider and more powerful.  For example we enjoy working with local businesses, local charities, Kent Fire and Rescue Service, Kent Police, Kent Search and Rescue, Community Wardens, Community Pastors and HM Coastguard to promote water safety at events to name a few.

socialmedia drowningprevention watersafety RNLI Communitysafety

If you are a regular follower of our social media channels and preventative work you will have seen that we are actively involved in supporting other water safety organisations campaigns to help prevent and reduce drownings. Here is a run down on the campaigns we get involved in:

 

Respect the water is the RNLI water safety campaign which runs throughout the year, but is relaunched during May to highlight water safety risks, how to avoid them and gives advice on how to stay safe. More information on Respect the Water campaign

 

‘Be Beach Safe’

During Summer 2020, the RNLI in collaboration with the HM Coastguard ran the ‘Be Beach Safe’ campaign, designed to share key beach safety messages.  Due to the travel restrictions imposed during lock-down the coast and beach saw a significant increase in visitor numbers. The ‘Be Beach Safe’ campaign was even more important during this period and continues to be shared far and wide.

 

Also, during the Summer of 2020, the RNLI initiated an Ambassador scheme, where organisations and businesses close to the coastline could sign-up and help share key water safety messages.  This also included calling the Coastguard via ‘999’ for any coastal emergency and displaying posters in their premises or venues.  During the 2020/21 the RNLI partnered with the HM Coastguard to share the Be Coast Safe safety message.  This is increasingly important during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown that this message is shared as widely as possible with an increase in the number of people taking their daily exercise at the coast.

Coastguard Lifeboat RNLI CommunitySafety Thanet saving lives at sea
HM Coastguard and RNLI Community Safety sharing Don’t Drink and Drown safety messages with Margate bars 2018
What is the Don’t Drink and Drown campaign?

The Royal Lifesaving Society’s (RLSS) Don’t Drink and Drown campaign is run during September and December targeting University students and those enjoying their works Christmas parties. The Don’t Drink and Drown campaign highlights the dangers of walking home close to open water after a night out.  More information on the Don’t Drink and Drown campaign

runnersandwalkers rlss

Are Runners and Walkers at risk of drowning?

In 2019, our team were involved in promoting the Royal Lifesaving Society (RLSS) Runners and Walkers water safety campaign at the beginning of November by holding a water safety stand at the fabulous Pegwell Bay Park Run.  You may have come across the NFCC water safety campaigns called ‘Be Water Aware’. More information on this campaign

swim safe margate communitysafety
Swim Safe team pictured with the Margate Mayor Mick Tomlinson and Councillor Liz Hurst
What is Swim Safe?

For the past two years we have helped raise funds and promote the Swim Safe programme which comprises free sea swimming and safety lessons for children aged 7-14 years held on Margate main sands. More information on Swim Safe

 

What is the Know Who To Call campaign?

Throughout the year we help promote the work of the HM Coastguard more specifically the ‘Know Who To call’ in a coastal emergency campaign. This is a vitally important message to get across as over half the people we speak with at events don’t know to call the Coastguard via ‘999’ for any emergency at the coast or on the River Thames.

bewateraware NFCC watersafety

‘Be Water Aware’ – who has pioneered this campaign?

The National Fire Chief’s Drowning Prevention Week campaign is supported annually by the team. This campaign aims to raise awareness of the risk of accidental drowning using Fire and Rescue Services’ across the UK. More information on the ‘Be Water Aware’ campaign.

If you want to get involved in the RNLI Local Ambassador campaign then check out this link for more information. 

Thank you for reading this blog and we stay safe!

 

More useful links

RLSS – water safety campaigns

National Fire Chief’s – ‘Be Water Aware’

Nationalfirechiefs bewareaware drowning RLSS NFCC

Acknowledgements

RNLI

HM Coastguard

NFCC

RLSS

RLSS Don’t Drink and Drown – Drowning Prevention Campaign 2nd-8th December

Once again this year our team are supporting the Royal Life Saving Society UK’s national Don’t Drink and Drown campaign, this year running from 2-8 December.

On Thursday 5th and Friday 6th December, we along with teams from RLSS UK, Kent Fire and Rescue Service, Kent Police, HM Coastguard Margate and the Community Pastors will be out and about talking to bar staff, venue security, taxi drivers and members of the public about keeping people safe whilst under the influence.  Kent was ranked in the top three counties for drink and drug related drownings.

We will also be sharing water safety advice via our social media channels daily as well as the RLSS UK’s brand-new film via social media which shows how easily a fun night out can turn into tragedy, and how staying with your friends can make all the difference.

RLSS Respectthewater bewateraware Margate Broadstairs Ramsgate
Don’t Drink & Drown 2018 – HM Coastguard Margate visiting  Coco Latino’s Ramsgate Harbour

Statisics

Latest statistics revealed 53 people have accidentally drowned in Kent over the last five years and 32% of these (17) were found to have had alcohol and/or drugs in their system, making it the 2nd highest county for drownings linked to intoxication.

Nationally there were 1,4581 accidental drowning deaths in the UK between 2014-2018 and more than 30% of the victims had alcohol and/or drugs in their bloodstream*. Many of them drowned because they walked home alone and fell in the water.

RLSS – Don’t Drink and Drown campaign

Hannah Wiggins-Bettles, RLSS UK Community Drowning Prevention Coordinator for the Kent area, said: “It’s a sad truth that the number of drownings increase in the winter period, more often than not because of intoxication.

“Families, friends and whole communities are left devastated every year because someone walks home alone whilst under the influence and falls into the water.

We’re urging people to stay together on a night out. Make sure their friends get home safe and don’t let them walk anywhere, especially near water, alone.”

London watersafety drowningprevention RNLI RLSS NFCC respectthewater coastguard floattolive

Kent Fire and Rescue Service Area Manager for Customer Safety, Colin King, said: “It only takes a small amount of alcohol to impact your ability to save yourself in water. Even strong swimmers with no alcohol in their system could struggle if they fell into a river, due to underwater currents and the effects of cold water shock, which includes involuntary inhalation and can result in drowning. So if you fall in after just a drink or two, you’re likely to drown because your reaction times are reduced, instincts are skewed and coordination is impacted. Have fun this Christmas, but please take care and think before you drink near water.”

drowningprevention watersafety respectthewater bewateraware lifeboats RNLI coastalsafety seasafety

Thanet RNLI Community Safety Officer Andy Mills said: “We are happy to support this critically important campaign and hope that everyone stays safe.”

The Don’t Drink and Drown campaign, this year running from 2 to 8 December, was launched in 2014 following a string of tragic drownings of young people. RLSS UK was keen to prevent more tragedies, by targeting at risk groups in hot spot areas, at particular points in the year where alcohol related drowning incidences increase – September (at the start of the new university term) and December (during the festive period).

As part of the campaign, organisations up and down the country promote water safety messaging and run awareness activities urging revellers to take care near water whilst under the influence of alcohol and/or.

Stay Safe this Christmas:

  • Don’t walk home near water, you might fall in
  • Look out for your friends, make sure they get home safely
  • Don’t enter the water if you have been drinking
  • Alcohol seriously affects your ability to get yourself out of trouble

For more information on RLSS UK’s Don’t Drink and Drown campaign visit www.rlss.org.uk, follow the campaign on #DontDrinkandDrown, or call 0300 3230 096

Stats taken from National Water Safety Forum Water Incident Database (WAID) of which RLSS UK is a member. Data is used from 2014-2018, including accidental and natural cause records only. Adults aged 18 years+. Alcohol records are suspected or confirmed deceased, based upon Coroners and emergency service records, court records.

Acknowledgements

RLSS

HM Coastguard

Kent Fire and Rescue Service

RNLI

Community safety groups rallying together for their ‘Take Over Day’

Community Safety is so important to highlight at all times of the year, but particularly during the summer months with school holidays in full swing and an increased number of people enjoying the outdoors.  So, with this in mind, the Kent Community Wardens organised a Community Safety ‘Take Over Day’ at the Herne Bay branch of Sainsbury’s on Thursday 1st August. 

The day comprised of different local commmunity organisations including the Herne Bay HM Coastguard team, Kent Road Safety, Kent Police, Victim Support, Kent Fire and Rescue Service, Street Pastors and of course the Community Wardens holding information tables at the supermarket entrance chatting to lovely shoppers about their respective safety work. Each organisation has an integral part to play in helping to keep people safe within their communities. 

We also supported this event by taking along our Respect the Water gazeboo and sharing our key safety messages.  If you are a regular reader of our blogs you may know that these are:

Street Pastors are possibly the lesser known of the groups, they are volunteers from local churches who have a genuine concern for their communities. After professional training, teams go out at night to engage with people providing a non-confrontational approach available to care, listen and offer practical help to whoever they meet, especially young people.

HM Coastguard Team officers with their rescue equipment and vehicle

HM Coastguard officers showcased their various kit, including mud, water and cliff rescue equipment. We were also very lucky to meet the Area Senior Coastguard Officer Nigel Woolley who visited the event.

Picture credit: Kent County Council

Community Wardens undertake fabulous work in our communities. If you aren’t familiar with their responsibilities here is a quick snapshot:

  • can tackle low-level crime and antisocial behaviour (such as graffiti, littering, fly tipping and vandalism)
  • can take names and addresses and control traffic
  • are a reassuring uniformed presence
  • are fully trained to the Community Safety Accreditation Scheme before starting their work
  • encourage communities to work together and make things better for everyone
  • work closely with Kent Police and other professional authorities
  • talk with local people, offering information and advice
  • take part in local community activities

Our team really enjoyed working in partnership with the different partner organisations to provide a wide range of community safety advice to the shoppers of Herne Bay Sainsbury’s.  A big shout out to Mandy one of the Community Wardens for organising the day and making sure everything went smoothly!

More useful information

Kent Community Wardens

HM Coastguard – information about volunteering

The Water Savvy Day – Water Safety At Bewl Water

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

More useful links:

Royal Lifesaving Society – top tips on drowning prevention

Learn how to Float to Live

Find the nearest lifeguarded beach

Learn more about free swim lessons

Book free swimming lessons in the sea – Swim Safe

Bewl Water

HM Coastguard – Beach Safety

Walmer Lifeboat Station Open Day

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.

Front page picture credit: Sarah Hewes

Some useful links:

Learn how to float to live

Future medic courses run by British Dives Marine Life Rescue

About the HM Coastguard

Kent Fire & Rescue Service

Community First Responders

Walmer RNLI Station facebook page

Water Savvy Day – Bewl Water

Last years Water Savvy Day

Our team along with our Gravesend RNLI Community Safety colleagues are super excited to be supporting the Annual Water Savvy Day this year at Bewl Water.  Incase you haven’t heard of it this is a fun day for all the family dedicated to water safety at Bewl Water near to Lamberhurst, Kent. There are lots of things to see and do: including the awesome Fire Service Animal Rescue Unit, the wonderful Newfoundlands Rescue Dogs and throw bag demonstrations. This is organised jointly by Kent Fire and Rescue Service and East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service with partner agencies : Kent Search and Rescue Service, Kent Police, Royal Lifesaving Society, Splashpals.

Fire and Rescue Service Swift Water Rescue competition at the ready

Want to find out more? Check our blog entry from 2018

How to get to Bewl Water

Find out how to Float to Live if you fall into the water unexpectedly

National Fire Chief’s Be Water Aware Week

Half the people that accidentally drown never intended on entering the water!
RNLICommunitysafety RNLIWatersafety Bebeachsafe Dogwalking Thanetcoastguard Margatelifeboat ramsgatelifeboat RNLIVolunteers
Doggie’s enjoying the lovely beach – but would you enter the water if your dog got into difficulty?

Statistics reveal that half of people who accidentally drown in the UK never intended to enter the water. It is a fact that they were running, walking, fishing or cycling near water that put them at risk of drowning. So, Day Two of the National Fire Chief’s National Drowning Prevention Week focuses on those everyday activities that we all enjoy going out for a walk, run, cycle or angling. In 2017, 255 people died after slipping, tripping, falling or simply underestimating the risks associated with being near water. If you do end up in the water always float to live.

Coastal runners
The HM Coastguard, RNLI and UK Fire Service’s attend calls each year to people that have entered the water in an attempt to rescue their dog either at the coast or at inland waterways. Unfortunately, in some cases the owner enters the water and loses their life and the dog self-rescues. Advice from the HM Coastguard is not to enter the water if you are in any doubt that your dog is in difficulty, but to dial ‘999’ ask for the Coastguard. If you are inland call ‘999’ and ask for the Fire Service.
National Fire Chief’s Drowning Prevention Week

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.

Members of the Thanet RNLI Community Safety Team pictured with one of the duty fire crews at Ramsgate Fire Station recently on a water safety collaborative visit.

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.


Water Savy Day – Bewl Water, Tunbridge Wells

Our Respect the Water stand – all set up at the Water Savy Day

On Saturday 16th June, saw me travel up to Bewl Water, near to Tunbridge Wells for the Kent Fire & Rescue Service’s Water Savy Day in partnership with East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service. This event is the first of it’s kind and I was very excited to be attending especially as I was representing the RNLI to share our key safety messages, along with a host of other water safety partners. Although Bewl Water is some fifty miles away from the coast, it was a unique opportunity to take part in such an innovative and exciting day, targeting all facets of water safety. The drive to Bewl Water is a fantastic cross country trip.  Taking in a variety of of lovely Kent villages and towns, which make up a large chunk of the Garden of England. Bewl Water is a fabulous location to visit at any time of the year, with a whole host of activities on offer including: mountain biking, sailing, and walking amongst others. It was also a superb location to host this Water Savy day, with breath taking views across the lake and brilliant woods to take a stroll or cycle around.

Fire & Rescue Water Rescue Teams at the ready before their inter service challenge

The Water Savy day comprised a range of demonstrations using specialist units, including a mock horse rescue from a ditch or mud hole using a hydraulic hoist, live water rescues from the lake, hands-on throw bag training, Inter Fire Service water rescue competition (won by Kent FRS), meet the Fire Search dog ‘Boz’, CPR demonstrations from the RLSS, Newfoundland dog’s were put through their paces in a mock water rescue and a chat on the microphone from myself about ‘float not swim’ and our ‘Respect the Water’ campaign.

Kent Fire Search Dog – Boz!

Overall a fantastic day chatting to a great range of visitors enjoying the day’s sunshine and learning all about water safety, both at the coast and inland. To all the lovely visitors, thank you for taking the time to visit and I hope you had a really great day, we did!

Photo acknowledgements where appropriate to Kent Fire & Rescue Service; and East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service.  Thank you to Kirsty Geary from Kent Fire & Rescue Service for inviting us along, it was much appreciated.

More information on the Drowning Prevention Week

Respect the Water guide (Float Not Swim)

Kent Search and Rescue Service

RLSS – ‘Don’t Drink and Drown’ campaign

Bewl Water

 

 

National Fire Chief’s Drowning Prevention & Water Safety week

Pictured with the Margate Fire Station Duty Watch

Drowning Prevention Week

This week I have been actively supporting the National Fire Chief’s Drowning Prevention and Water Safety campaign. This campaign has seen a huge amount of innovative engagement activity, including talks to community groups, water safety equipment ‘show and tell’, stands at reservoirs and throw bag training amongst others. This activity has been widespread across the UK involving the respective Fire & and Rescue Services’, Coastguard Volunteer Rescue Teams, RNLI, water companies, water safety campaigners, Search and Rescue Teams, Police Services’ and water safety groups all collaboratively spreading and sharing the water safety and drowning prevention messages. On social media the twitter #BewaterAware has been shared extensively to ensure the message is spread as far as possible and even ‘trended’ 5th on Monday 23rd, although the birth of the Royal baby was ‘trending’ as number one! This campaign has been spreadheaded by the Chief Fire Officers Association Drowning Prevention Lead and East Sussex Chief Fire Officer, Dawn Whittacker

National Fire Chiefs – Be Water Aware Campaign

Different Focus

Each day of the campaign, has seen a focus on a different activity, namely Monday – exploring the waterside equipment aka life rings and throw bags that are now standard around our rivers, canals, coasts and waterways, Tuesday – runners and walkers safety, Wednesday – ‘Away From Home’ (holidays in the UK and abroad and the emphasis on being safe whilst swimming), Thursday – Away From Home, Friday and Saturday will be alcohol related themes (due to the weekend potential for higher rates of socialising).

More young children die in pools abroad on holiday than do overall in the UK!

Kent’s Community Responder Programme

Kent Fire and Rescue Service have teamed up to work collaboratively with the RNLI to roll-out the Community Responder programme. The Community Safety team are delivering the training on behalf of the RNLI to train businesses (at selected locations around Maidstone, close to the River Medway) in water safety and how to deploy the throw-bags and will receive a free throw-line bag to retain on their premises inreadiness for an incident in the river. If this is well received by businesses, it may be rolled out to other areas in the county where water poses a risk in built-up localities.  If you are an organisation or business in Kent and want to find out more then email the Community Safety Team.

 

Effectively deploying a throw bag to a water casualty

Thanks for reading about this vitally important campaign. Please share far and wide, it just could save someone’s life.

Here are just some of the very useful drowning prevention groups, organisations and individuals, so check them out for more advice:

Doing It For Dylan

Kent Fire and Rescue Service Drowning Prevention

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service Water Safety

Coast Safe – Devon and Cornwall Police Water Safety

West Mercia Search and Rescue ‘Home and Dry’ campaign

RLSS – Don’t Drink and Drown

RoSPA – Water Safety Advice whilst on holiday

RNLI – Dog Walking Safety Advice

National Chief Fire Officers Drowning Prevention campaign

Safe and Dry – No More River Deaths (Kent Search and Rescue)

National Water Safety Forum

Durham City Council – Don’t Drink and Drown campaign

Carmanthenshire Water Safety Partnership