Saturday, 20 June 2015

Drowning Prevention Week 20-28th June

Drowning Prevention Week 20-28th June. As boaters we are all acutely aware of the numbers of people who end up in the water. In the summer its seems that not a day goes by, without a news item about people entering the water and often drowning as a result. 
Children are attracted to the canals and rivers and it is a very heartbreaking to read about such instances. But it is not only limited to children as we discovered ourselves a couple of years ago. In an incident on the Chesterfield canal where we came across a member of the public suffering from hypothermia and unable to move.

He had tripped and stumbled on the towpath and as a result had fallen into the canal. Landing head first he had been completely submerged. He had however managed to claw his way to the bank and pull himself out of the water. He had also crawled along the towpath for a short distance.

Some time afterwards (estimated at 45 minutes) we came across him, he was in a terrible state. The weather was just above freezing and the wind chill was quite significant.We immediately sent for an ambulance. Using the map apps on the Android phone we were able to pinpoint our exact location to summon the emergency services. We were then able to guide them to the exact spot. 
You can read about it here (Diabolical CaRT emergency service)
Now as the weather gets warmer, more people will be drawn to lakes and ponds as well as the Canals and Rivers that form the Inland Waterways. As the trust encourages the public to come and walk and cycle the towpaths. As towpaths are upgraded and become short cuts to and from peoples places of work. The canals are now being encouraged for use for everyone's leisure. So the numbers of casualties will inevitably grow. 
The School curriculum has changed since my day - when everyone had to learn to swim. Times change and families often have to pay now for children's swimming lessons. Its important to get that message across about teaching our children how to swim and how to get out of the water. Its important to teach children how to help save a friend in the water without placing themselves at risk. Its also important to teach them how to summon help and that floatation devices are not a plaything but provided to save lives.
The 'Families Stories' film features people from across the UK who have lost someone to drowning and have shared their tragic experiences. The film aims to raise awareness of the issue of drowning and to back the Royal Life Saving Society UK’s annual Drowning Prevention Week campaign, which runs from June 20 – 28 this year.
It has taken a great deal of courage by the brave families who took part in the film. Please watch

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