Thanet RNLI Community Safety

Do You Know What To Do If You Saw Someone Drowning?

Knowing what to do in the event of seeing someone in difficulty in the water could help save someone’s life. The majority of people will not just stand and watch someone in difficulty in the water. However, if your instinct is to jump in and attempt a rescue this could cost you your life.  On a lifeguarded beach the best action is to alert the lifeguards straight away. But, what happen’s if the incident is out of season when the beach doesn’t have lifeguards on duty or you are on holiday and you spot someone who is in difficulty in the water?

 

During August 2019 a gentlemen very tragically lost his life in Porthmadog, North Wales after entering the water to try and save the life of his children. I am sure you will agree that we all admire the selflessness that drives people to risk their own lives to help others, however, the RNLI’s message is clear “Call for help rather than endanger your own life and the lives of others”.

Mike Dunn, Deputy Director of Education and Research at RLSS UK has provided the following guide

6 Steps To Saving A Life Without Risking Your Own

1. Keep Alert

Don’t expect a casualty to be shouting for help. They may be struggling to breathe, and drowning looks very different to how it is portrayed in the movies.

If you’re not sure, shout: ‘Do you need help?’ If they say yes or don’t answer at all, it’s time to act.

2. Resist the temptation

Don’t be tempted to go in. The water might be cold, which will limit your ability to swim. And whatever has caused the casualty to need help is likely to happen to you too. Cold water shock is a killer. Find out more about by watching this video featuring RNLI Ambassador Ant Middleton

3. Dial ‘999’ or ‘112’ straight away

Call the emergency services before you do anything else, so help will be on its way.

Or ask someone else to call while you try to help the casualty. If you’re alone without a phone, find someone who can call for help. Give the following information to the Coastguard Operator if at the coast. Ask for the Fire Service if inland:

  • Give your location.
  • Describe the problem.
  • Tell them the number of people in danger.
  • Give any additional information that may be useful such as any access issues or hazards.

4. Shout and Signal

From the shore you have a better view of the area than the casualty. Shout and encourage them to stay calm and float. Remind them to kick their legs gently. Once they’ve caught their breath they may be able to reach a lifering in the water, a jetty, or a shallower area of water.

5. Find a Rescue Aid

If there is a life ring, throw bag (filled with rope), or other public rescue aid equipment nearby, quickly read any instructions then throw it to the casualty. See our advice on how to use a throw bag or lifering.

 

Some parts of the country have rescue boards (pictured above) which contain rescue equipment either a throw bag or a reach pole secured by a digital combination lock. To access this equipment dial ‘999’ ask for the Coastguard at the coast or on the River Thames. For inland water ways (canals, rivers, lakes, loch’s, pools) ask for the Fire Service quoting the identifying number on the rescue board which will allow you access to the emergency equipment.

If there is no public rescue aid equipment, throw anything that will float.

6.  Safe Rescue

Before you pull the casualty in, get down on one knee or lie down so you don’t fall in.

Remember, even if your rescue attempts fail, emergency services are on their way. Keep sight of the casualty to help the emergency services locate them quicker.

Picture Credits:  RNLI/Andy Perryman

More useful links:

It’s hot out there – what to do if you get into difficulty

Can I suffer from Cold Water Shock

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