Following the news that 266 lives were lost to accidental drowning in the UK in 2022, North Wales Fire and Rescue Service (NWFRS) has joined the call for people to stay safe in and around water.

The National Fire Chiefs Council’s (NFCC’s) Be Water Aware campaign ran from 22-28 April, and on Saturday, 27 April, crews from NWFRS in Bala were on hand to help people learn more about how to be just that.

Gwyn Roberts, Watch Manager and lead on water safety said: “It was great to have the opportunity to talk to people about how to stay safe in and around the water.

The water safety event in Bala
The water safety event in Bala (Picture supplied)

“As part of the event, staff demonstrated first aid and promoted the ‘float to live’ message. We were also able to showcase the equipment we would use during a water rescue.

“Thanks to the local crew and cadets from Bala for attending.”

The aim of the Be Water Aware campaign is to raise awareness about the risk of accidental drowning and provide safety advice ahead of the warmer months.

Forty per cent of people who accidentally drowned had no intention of entering the water. Slips trips and falls were often the cause of these accidents.

People also underestimate the dangers of jumping into water or taking a dip to cool off. Unseen hazards and cold water shock can mean even strong swimmers get into trouble.

Males account for 87 per cent of these accidental fatalities, 60 per cent of which are in inland waters such as rivers, reservoirs and lakes.

Tips to stay safe include:

• Sticking to proper pathways and staying clear of the water’s edge

• Not entering the water after drinking alcohol

• Walking a safe route home after drinking, with friends and away from water

• Cold water shock can kill, walking into the water rather than jumping in can help reduce the risk.

If someone is in trouble in the water, stay calm, stay on land, and remember Call, Tell, Throw.

• Call 999

• Tell the struggling person to float on their back.

• Throw them something that floats.

If you find yourself in trouble, remember ‘Float to Live’. Tilt your head back with your ears submerged. Relax and breathe normally. Move your hands to help stay afloat. Spread your arms and legs out. Once your breathing is controlled, call for help or swim to safety.

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