Ahead of the bank holiday weekend, when more people might be visiting coastal locations and inland water beauty spots, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service (MFRS) are urging people to take extra care in and around water.
The Fire Service share their top tips for water safety. They include:
- Never swim alone in case you need help
- Don’t drink alcohol if you are going to take part in water activities – it impairs judgement and your ability to swim
- Avoid walking routes near water if you have been drinking alcohol
- Don’t dive or jump straight into open water, this can cause potentially fatal cold water shock even on the warmest day
- Actively supervise children in and around water – drowning can happen fast and silently
- If you find yourself unexpectedly in the water – don’t panic – extend your arms and legs out and float on your back until the effects of cold water shock pass
- Never enter the water to try to rescue someone – call 999 and ask for the Fire Service if inland and the Coastguard if you are at the coast
The National Fire Chiefs Council’s (NFCC) Be Water Aware Campaign, 26 April to 2 May 2021, is supported by MFRS and as part of it they are encouraging people to be aware of the risks and stay safe.
Paul McGuiness, Watch Manager for Arson & Water Safety at MFRS, said: “As lockdown eases and the weather warms up, more people are likely to take risks around water.
“In Merseyside, we have the river, the beach and canals, all of which involve dangers such as mud flats and strong tides.
“We want people to have fun but it is vital they do so safely. Please ensure you follow the water safety tips above when you are out and about near water.”
Each year, MFRS carry out a number of rescues from mud flats in our region. In February 2021, MFRS joined a multi-agency team in the rescue of two people who were stuck in mud near a sailing club in Thurstaston.
If you are visiting one of Wirral’s beaches, or taking a trip to Hilbre Island, make sure you are aware of tide times and take a mobile phone. You can find out more about tide times by visiting www.wirral.gov.uk/hilbre
If you do become stuck in mud, try not to panic, spread your weight as much as possible and call 999.