GLOUCESTERSHIRE Fire and Rescue Service (GFRS) is urging people to stay safe in and around water to reduce the risk of accidental drownings.

The service has provided safety advice as part of The National Fire Chiefs Council’s (NFCC) Be Water Aware campaign, which runs from April 22 to April 28. 

It said: “Simple tips to stay safe include keeping to proper pathways and staying clear of the water’s edge, don’t enter the water after drinking alcohol and walk a safe route home after drinking, away from water.

“Cold water shock can kill, walking into the water rather than jumping in can reduce this risk. If someone is in trouble, you can help by staying calm, staying on land and remembering Call, Tell, Throw. 

“Call 999 for the emergency services, tell the struggling person to float on their back and throw them something that floats.”

Gloucestershire County Council (GCC) said: “In 2022, 266 lives were lost due to accidental drowning in the UK and 40 percent of those had no intention of entering the water.

“Slips, trips and falls are often the cause of these accidents and many people also underestimate the dangers of jumping into water or taking a dip to cool off, especially those with limited experience of outdoor swimming. Unseen hazards and cold water shock can mean even strong swimmers can get into trouble.” 

Mark Preece, Chief Fire Officer at Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “These deaths are preventable, so we are urging everyone to Be Water Aware so they can spend time in and around water safely.

“We want to encourage people to make safe choices around water and to know what to do in an emergency to reduce the risk of drowning.

“You can help prevent the devastating impact these deaths have on families and communities by following the safety advice.”

For more information and safety advice, you can visit GCC’s website or search the #BeWaterAware campaign on social media.

You can also find out more information about the Be Water Aware campaign on the National Fire Chief’s Council’s website.