Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) continue to remind people of the dangers of swimming and jumping in open water as it launches its water safety campaign for this year. It comes as figures released show that 165 people in England accidentally drowned in 2021.
In the last five years, GMFRS have been called to 41 fatal water incidents. Sadly, a number of those were young people who got into difficulty after jumping into or swimming in open water across Greater Manchester. These incidents tend to occur over summer during periods of warmer weather. This summer GMFRS will once again partner with families and friends of those who have lost loved ones in accidental drownings, to share their stories so that no other families experience their heartache.
The campaign launches today, ahead of the Royal Life Saving Society’s Drowning Prevention Week, which will take place from 18 June to 25 June.
Area Manager Billy Fenwick, Head of Prevention at GMFRS, said:
“Tragically, the warmer weather over summer can lead to accidental drownings, particularly amongst young people.
“Our Water Safety campaign helps to educate young people on the dangers of open water. Cold Water Shock can kill even strong swimmers, and people can become caught up in undergrowth and drown.
“As it gets warmer over summer, our message is to never be tempted to jump into or swim in any open water to cool off.”
This year’s campaign will be supported by social media activity throughout summer, as well as digital and printed displays across Greater Manchester in areas that are popular with young people over summer, sharing the campaign messages to help people become aware of staying safe around water.
On social media, videos will be shared from family and friends, speaking of the dangers of entering open water.
Mark Allen drowned in Debdale Park in June 2018. His family have been supporting the campaign and shared their experiences of losing a loved one.
Natalie Lawson, the mother of Paul Lawson who downed in Greenbooth Reservoir in 2017, is also supporting the campaign. Natalie spoke to GMFRS in 2020 about the importance of being aware of how dangerous open water can be.
The family of Jack Pullen are also supporting the campaign. Jack drowned in July 2016 in the River Etherow near Hyde. Chris, Jack’s uncle, and Fallon, Jack’s sister told GMFRS about the impact Jack’s death has had on their family, and the dangers of open water even if you’re a strong swimmer.
GMFRS are also working with Beckie Ramsay, the mother of Dylan Ramsay. Dylan drowned in July 2011 in a quarry near Chorley in Lancashire. Beckie spoke to us and shared her story of losing Dylan. She has also worked with Lancashire Fire and Rescue service, campaigning to raise awareness of the dangers of the open water.
Deputy Mayor for Policing, Crime and Fire, Bev Hughes, said:
“It’s important that we continue to raise awareness of the dangers of open water to prevent accidental drownings, so I am pleased we are launching the GMFRS water safety campaign for this year once again.
“I want to thank those who have lost loved ones for continuing to share their stories, as you are helping to prevent other families from experiencing the same heartache”.
The #Safe4Summer campaign runs alongside the water safety campaign and was launched last week in partnership with GMFRS, Greater Manchester Police, Greater Manchester Combined Authority and the 10 local authorities that make up Greater Manchester. Water safety messages are reinforced through this campaign over the summer months.
You can follow the hashtags #WaterSafety and #DrowningPrevention on social media throughout summer and follow the campaign activity on GMFRS’ social media channels: Twitter @manchesterfire, Instagram @manchesterfire, and Facebook: GMFRS.
You can also visit the GMFRS website for more information on water safety and the campaign.
17/06/2022 13:42 PM