12:30PM, Thursday 29 April 2021
Crews from the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service are urging people to ‘Be Water Aware’ as part of a national campaign aimed at drowning prevention.
The National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) is running its Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Week until May 2.
The initiative is warning people not to become complacent around open water, particularly as coronavirus restrictions continue to ease across the country.
Crews from Maidenhead, Windsor and Slough fire stations have been visiting ‘areas of concern’ to put up posters and educate members of the public about the dangers of going in the water.
These include Boulters Lock, the Sounding Arch in Maidenhead and Hurley Riverside Park.
Warning posters at Boulters Lock
Robin Jordan, watch based manager at Maidenhead Fire Station, said: “We just want to highlight to people about the dangers of water, you don’t know what’s beneath the water, you don’t know the current underneath and you can catch diseases.
“If you go in with your clothes on it can be difficult to swim, even if you’re a strong swimmer.”
Figures from the NFCC said 223 people died in 2019 from accidental drownings in the UK and 44 per cent of those had no intention of going in the water.
It has issued the following tips to keep people safe around water:
Mr Jordan added: “Coronavirus restrictions are being lifted so people are going out and enjoying themselves more but we just want people to be aware of the hazards with the water.”
The candidates standing in the upcoming Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner election have outlined their priorities for policing in the region.