Thanet RNLI Community Safety

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

A look behind the scenes – Margate Community Safety Team

I thought it was high time that I let you into a few secrets of what goes on behind the scenes of our RNLI Community Safety Team, here in Thanet out of season.

Even though the season hasn’t started yet, we are still busy getting our plans and projects in place for Summer. One such project which we have been working on for some time now, is the training up of groups and businesses inorder to be able to deploy throw bags (RNLI community responder scheme) along our coastlines and harbours should the need arise.  A previous blog post describes how important and useful the throw bags are in the hands of trained members of the local community in key risk locations.  If you are a business, group or individual that is located close to the sea, river, or coast then why not contact us to see if you could come on board?

Swim Safe

Swim Safe

Another awesome project sees for the very first time ‘Swim Safe’ is beng run on Margate main sands. This is the delivery of free sea swim coaching for the age group 7-14 years in collaboration with Swim England RNLI and Thanet District Council. We know that it’s going to be busy, so follow our website for the booking page ‘go live’ date. Schools will be notified too when more information is available.

Respect the Water being launched 23rd May

The RNLI’s national launch of it’s ‘Respect the Water’ campaign is taking place on 23rd May which will help spread our safety mesages prior to the start of the busy Summer. We are currently working on some really exciting plans for this launch in Thanet, so stay tuned and we will be up-dating our social media channels as soon as plans have been confirmed. We will also be working with a local taxi firm, Central Cars in Broadstairs to spread our key safety messages out to customers via their drivers.  Keep an eye on our Facebook, Twitter or blog posts to find out how you can learn and share these important safety messages.

Community engagement is key in spreading the safety messages

On-going local engagement

Inadditon to the above projects, the team continues to deliver safety briefings to local community groups, undertake ‘Incident Prevention Engagement’ (IPE) at beaches or coastal areas where an incident has recently taken place reminding and educating people concerning tides, calling for help and cold water shock.  Examples of recent IPE deployments have been seen at Kingsgate Bay and Dumpton Gap. These are inaddition to seeking fresh and new engagement opportunties with other local coastal activity and comunity groups.

The Team will also be supporting the National Fire Chiefs Council – Drowning Prevention and Water Safety week 23rd-29th April, where we will be sharing on social media material to highlight that drowning is of the UK’s leading causes of accidental death. Kent Fire and Rescue Service also have a useful section on their website highlighting water safety, it’s definitely worth a read!

Anyway, until next time thanks for reading.

Recent Coastal walking activity talk to Past Rotarians Margate

Other key website links:

UK Coastguard

Download your very own tides ap

Respect the Water – Float to live advert