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Stay safe near water: Understanding the risks and what to do in an emergency

Posted on 25 June 2024

Recent statistics have revealed a concerning fact that 40% of people who accidentally drowned had no intention of entering the water. Many of these tragic incidents were caused by slips, trips, and falls near water courses. It's a stark reminder of the hidden dangers that water can pose, even to those who are cautious.

Many people underestimate the risks associated with jumping into water or taking a dip to cool off, especially if they have limited experience with outdoor swimming. Even strong swimmers can find themselves in trouble due to unseen hazards and the shock of cold water.

If you find yourself unexpectedly struggling in the water, your first instinct might be to swim hard. However, the shock of cold water can cause you to gasp uncontrollably, increasing the risk of inhaling water and drowning. Instead, you should follow the "Float to Live" method:

  1. Tilt your head back with ears submerged: This helps keep your airways clear.
  2. Relax and try to breathe normally: Staying calm can prevent panic and conserve energy.
  3. Move your hands to help you stay afloat: Gentle hand movements can aid in keeping you above water.
  4. It's OK if your legs sink - we all float differently: Focus on keeping your head above water.
  5. Spread your arms and legs to improve stability: This can help you maintain a stable position in the water.

If you see someone in trouble in the water, the best way to assist is by following these three steps:

  1. Call 999 for the emergency services: Professional help is crucial in water emergencies.
  2. Tell them to float on their back: This can help the person stay calm and conserve energy.
  3. Throw them something that floats: A life ring, a buoy, or even a plastic container can provide vital buoyancy until help arrives.

Peter Hunn, Community Safety Manager at Boston Borough Council, said: "Water safety is everyone's responsibility. Understanding the risks and knowing what to do in an emergency can save lives. Always respect the water, stay alert, and make sure you and your loved ones know the Float to Live principles."

Water safety is crucial, whether you're near a pool, river, lake, or the ocean. By understanding the risks and knowing how to respond in an emergency, you can help prevent accidental drownings and save lives. Remember, staying calm and following these simple steps can make all the difference in a water emergency. Stay safe and enjoy the water responsibly!

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