One-off evidence session for the UK National Drowning Prevention Strategy announced

This one-off oral evidence session scrutinises the structure and coordination of organisations that work to prevent and respond to emergency incidents around the coastline, including the implications of recent reorganisations of the Coastguard and Search and Rescue helicopter services, and integration with the traditional land-based emergency services. The session considers issues around beach safety, and the responsibilities of beach owners and managers, in the light of a spate of tragic accidents at a number of locations in summer 2016. There are also broader questions about implementation of the UK’s first National Drowning Prevention Strategy, which was launched in February 2016 and is supported by a range of organisations, including the Department for Transport.

More information can be found at the Committee homepage.

Figures reveal 321 people died in accidental drownings in 2015

New figures released today (July 29) reveal that 321 people lost their lives in accidental drownings in the UK in 2015.

The figures, published by the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF), also show that the majority of those who died did not intend to be in the water, with 82 people having drowned while walking or running, and 29 deaths while taking part in a commercial activity.

The number also includes 30 people who died from suspected natural causes while or after being in the water.

NWSF’s Water Incident Database (WAID) compiles drowning statistics from across the UK and breaks these down into deaths by activity, age, geographical location, and location type.

The majority of deaths occurred at the coast/beach/shore (95) and in rivers (86). As in previous years males are most susceptible to drowning, with 232 men and boys being recorded as having drowned, compared to 43 women and girls. There was a higher number of deaths for males than females recorded in every single age bracket.

Children and youths aged up to 19 represent 10 per cent of those killed, with 32 dying in 2015,  23 of these being in the 15-19 bracket. July represented the highest number of deaths (46, up from 34 in June and 35 in August), while many people also drowned in January (40).

In England 231 people were killed in accidental drowning or where natural causes were suspected, with 50 in Scotland, 33 in Wales, and three in Northern Ireland.

George Rawlinson, chairman of the NWSF, said: “As the holiday season commences I am saddened that still too many lives are needlessly lost, this alone clearly demonstrates the need for action. The forum, through its partner organisations, is determined to tackle drowning so that the families and loved ones of these tragedies may be comforted in the knowledge that we’re all working together to reduce incidents around our coast and inland waters and protect future generations.

“With Government support for our first National Drowning Prevention strategy launch early this year, we’re actively progressing towards a goal where more people can enjoy the water safely.”

A full copy of the UK Water-Related Fatalities 2015 report can be viewed at: http://www.nationalwatersafety.org.uk/waid/reports.asp

 

New Coastguard film aims to highlight dangers of cold water

A new film which targets 18 to 29 year old men with a message about the dangers of cold water shock is being launched by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) today (Monday 25 July). The new 40-second film aims to highlight the dangers of jumping or falling into water, especially after drinking, and reveals…

via New film aims to highlight dangers of drinking or falling into water, especially after drinking — Maritime and Coastguard Agency

Running or walking? don’t slip up

Chief Fire Officers Association

Just going for a walk or a quick run doesn’t sound like an activity you wouldn’t return safely from. In fact, an organisation asked to help spread the message declined – ‘because walking is safe’.  Yes, walking and running are safe but people need to be mindful if they are near water – no matter how safe they perceive their activity to be, the risks change. Not being aware is how you get caught out.

CFOA_Water Safety Poster_RUNNER

The WAID statistics speak for themselves. Not only are runners and walkers the group most at risk of accidental drowning, but this group has also seen a jump in the number of fatalities in recent years.

2010       58

2011       87

2012       54

2013       126

2014       138 (during 2014 113 cyclists died on UK roads)

Rivers have been identified as the body of water which poses the greatest risk.

runners and walkers drowning by water body Runners and walkers drowning…

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Water safety group’s call to action to reduce drowning

A national drowning prevention strategy that aims to halve the number of fatal incidents on or near water will be launched on 29 February by Transport Minister Robert Goodwill MP.

The document, created by members of the National Water Safety Forum* (NWSF) is the UK’s first drowning prevention strategy, created in response to the World Health Organization’s report on global drowning, which recommended that every nation should have a drowning prevention strategy.

About 400 people drown and a further 200 take their own lives in our waters in the UK every year; that equates to one accidental drowning every 20 hours. Activities in and around water are safer now than ever, but 44% of drowning fatalities happen to people who had no intention of entering the water.

The UK strategy highlights the areas that organisations need to focus on to make a difference and asks for support in contributing towards the national plan. The NWSF strategy page can be viewed here: http://www.nationalwatersafety.org.uk/strategy/

The NWSF will be asking organisations and individuals to sign up to a pledge to reduce drownings; to contribute towards the shared objective by making the National Strategy a local priority and by actively supporting the intention of the Strategy by raising the profile of drowning in the UK.

Robert Goodwill said:

“The number of people drowning each year is shocking and must be cut. As an island nation the water plays an integral part of our lives. But the sea, rivers, lakes and canals are all too frequently killers and action needs to be taken.

“That is why I fully support the launch of this drowning prevention strategy. Working together we can significantly reduce the number of tragic deaths and prevent the families of hundreds of people each year going through unbearable pain and suffering.”

George Rawlinson, Chair of the National Water Safety Forum commented:

‘Hardly a day goes past without some sort of human tragedy taking place in UK waters. Around four-hundred people accidentally drown each year in the UK – this is unacceptable and it’s a problem that we need to face up to together.

‘The organisations represented through the National Water Safety Forum have united in a common aim – to prevent history repeating itself in this tragic way, year after year, and to use our resources in the most effective way to halve accidental drowning fatalities in the UK by 2026.  It’s an ambitious target but well worth striving for. Now we have a strategy, we have a focus and, most importantly, a call to action to do more to combat drowning. Ultimately, we hope to save every life – one life lost is one too many.’

Public Health Wales child drowning review published

A new report by the Child Death Review Programme at Public Health Wales has found a link between drinking alcohol and drowning among young people. The report also suggests that closer and appropriate adult supervision may help prevent drowning in some cases.

The ‘Thematic review of deaths of children and young people through drowning’ includes recommendations to support the prevention of deaths from drowning.  A key recommendation emerging from the report is that organisations in Wales need to work together in a new national forum to improve water safety.

The report also highlights the need for consistent guidance on safer bathing for children and young people with epilepsy and their carers, and to support healthcare professionals.  There is currently no widely shared consensus advice on safer bathing for people with epilepsy.

The thematic review looked at the deaths of children and young people from birth to 24 years between 1 October 2009 and 30 September 2014.  26 deaths were considered in the review, which included individuals who were normally resident in Wales or died within Wales.

The report finds that majority of deaths occurred in older children and young people, with 21 deaths (81 per cent) occurring in individuals aged 12–24 years.  These deaths tended to occur in open water environments.

Five of the deaths (19 per cent) were children aged 11 years or under.  These deaths tended to occur in closed water environments, like pools.

The report also finds that the majority of deaths were in males, with 21 (81 per cent) occurring among this group.

Almost one third of deaths (31 per cent, eight of the 26) may have been linked to possible alcohol consumption.

The report also advises:

  • Organisations in Wales should have common messages on water safety, appropriate to the setting
  • There are interventions that may encourage safer swimming or prevent unintended contact with water, like self-latching gates around pools
  • Education on how pool-based lessons relate to open water could be included in Welsh Government efforts to ensure every child in Wales is able to swim
  • Planning is needed in Wales to take forward the UK national drowning prevention strategy (2016–2026) goal of producing publically available community-level risk assessment and water safety plans
  • Holidaymakers at home and abroad could be encouraged to be more aware of water safety, supported by the tourist industry routinely providing advice and guidance on water safety
  • There are opportunities to improve sharing of data, and to look at how information is communicated to support prevention, including reports by coroners
  • Appropriate support for those involved in drowning events in Wales is important

The Child Death Review programme in Wales aims to identify and describe patterns and causes of child death including any trends, and to recommend actions to reduce the risk of avoidable factors contributing to child deaths in Wales.

More information about the programme is available on their website at www.publichealthwales.org/childdeathreview.

£915,000 boost to water rescue charities

Almost £1 million has been awarded by Maritime Minister Robert Goodwill today (18 February 2016) to 51 UK charities to support water rescue services in local communities.

The government scheme gives voluntary groups crucial funding for new equipment and training to support their rescue efforts on and around inland and inshore waterways.

s300_960-inland-water-rescue

The money is for the purchase of lifeboats, launch vehicles, rafts and safety gear, as well as going towards training and other costs to support lifesaving efforts.

This is the second year of the 5 year scheme. In January 2015 more than £800,000 was awarded to 21 charities across the UK.

See the full recipients at www.gov.uk

 

 

ASA celebrates School Swimming anniversary

Today marks 125 years of School Swimming and the ASA were joined by Sports Minister, Tracey Crouch to celebrate the occasion.

Also attending the School Swimming anniversary at Everyone Active’s Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre were double Olympic gold medal winner Rebecca Adlington OBE, former World Champion Mark Foster and 2004 bronze Olympic medallist Steve Parry.

The Olympians dressed in Victorian costumes and gave 125 school pupils from the local area to a Victorian-style school swimming lesson. They then changed into 2015 costumes to teach a modern lesson to the children. They taught speed swimming, water polo and synchronised swimming.

See the ASA site for more information:  http://www.swimming.org/schoolswimming/asa-celebrates-school-swimming-anniversary/

Occupational water safety issues explored at event

The importance of having the knowledge, equipment and skills required to work safely near water was highlighted during an event staged by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH).

The Institution’s Rural Industries Group explored the risks that employees face when working close to open water, and whether a blind spot exists in people’s perception of the scope and scale of the issue.

High-profile speakers shared lessons learned from near misses and accidents, while experts also demonstrated water rescue and recovery techniques to more than 70 delegates.

Ray Cooke, Head of the HSE’s Construction Sector Safety Team, said that very few of the 400 people who drown in the UK annually do so as a result of working near water.

He added, however, that the relatively small number of deaths didn’t reflect the seriousness of the issue.

Ray said: “We have no idea how many near misses there are, or how many people are suffering health issues as a result of contracting waterborne diseases.

“It is critical to plan how to deal with the operation in the first place.

http://www.iosh.co.uk/News/IOSH-event-highlights-occupational-water-safety.aspx