On the eve of its Drowning Prevention Week campaign, this year taking place from June 12-19, the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) is appealing for people to learn basic water safety and rescue skills, and build their confidence in, on and around the water, which could ultimately save lives.
The charity is fearful that there could be a significant rise in drowning accidents and fatalities across the UK this summer when lockdown restrictions lift further, with a worrying number of accidents already hitting the news.
Earlier this month, a dispersal order was put in place to stop groups gathering to swim in Appley Bridge Quarry, near Parbold, while groups were also reported to be gathering at Rivington reservoirs, near Chorley, during the recent spell of warm weather
Despite the number of accidental drownings dropping in the UK last year, latest statistics reveal that 623 people still died from drowning in the UK in 2019, and with lifeguard patrols currently postponed and emergency services already stretched to the limit, people are more at risk now than ever before.
In Lancashire, the number of people reported to have drowned fell by 28 per cent in 2019 (from 18 to 13), yet the county still ranks as the ninth highest in the UK for drowning deaths, with 70 fatalities in the last five years.
As part of Drowning Prevention Week, families are being urged to access the RLSS UK’s FREE resources to learn how to keep themselves and their loved ones, safe. The children’s resources aim to teach water safety in a fun and engaging way, whilst the Lifesaver-Lifechanger tool caters for older children and adults.
RLSS UK CEO Robert Gofton said: “We are extremely concerned that this summer will see people rushing to jump into the water without proceeding with caution and understanding the potential life-threatening implications.
“Although amazing work has been done to reduce the number of accidental drownings across the UK and Ireland, this year has been unprecedented in so many ways. We have witnessed a recent increase in public euphoria and risk-taking behaviour.
“Lancashire has a particularly high rate of drowning incidences and we urge as many people as possible to access our resources to learn how to stay safe. RLSS UK believes that the majority of drowning incidents can be prevented. By learning to recognise to the potential dangers, and becoming confident in how to respond to an emergency, you could save a life”
To access the resources, visit www.rlss.org.uk/dpw.
For more information on Drowning Prevention Week: Visit rlss.org.uk, Follow RLSS UK on Twitter - @RLSSUK or go to the RLSS UK Facebook page - facebook.com/RLSSUK