The fire service is hoping to bring water safety to the forefront of people’s minds as Drowning Prevention Week begins.
As part of its #RememberRony water safety campaign, Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service is using the national awareness week that begins on Saturday (June 18) to highlight the dangers of the county’s open waterways.
The aim of the ongoing #RememberRony campaign, which launched in May 2015, is to educate the community about the risks associated with open water. It is backed by the family of Huntingdon schoolboy Rony John, who sadly died in 2014 while playing with friends in the Great River Ouse.
The Royal Life Saving Society’s Drowning Prevention Week runs from June 18-24 and will see a host of activities take place nationally.
Group Commander Chris Parker, head of community fire safety, said: “We don’t want to spoil people’s summer fun by telling them not to jump into rivers and lakes, but we do feel it is important to educate the whole community about the risk open water poses if you are not a trained professional with the correct equipment and kit.
“Since launching #RememberRony over a year ago our staff have delivered water safety advice to thousands of schoolchildren across Cambridgeshire as well as reaching out to community groups and targeting the areas where we know people are most at risk.
“We will continue with the work we are doing in the community but are asking the public to help us too by taking on board some of our safety advice.”
People are being warned that even if it is a warm summer’s day, the water can be very cold and can quickly cause cramp and breathing difficulties which can affect your ability to swim and get out of trouble. Water can be far deeper and currents stronger than people think and there are unknown hazards that lie beneath the surface.
Chris added: “It is also important that if you see someone in trouble in water that you know what to do. Call 999 immediately with clear details of your location and if possible send someone to the nearest road to flag down the emergency services when they arrive.
“You can find the nearest life ring or anything that could help them float, and if someone goes under the water, mark on the water’s edge the place they were last seen with something like a piece of clothing.”
For more information about water safety visit www.cambsfire.gov.uk or to pledge that you will stay safe around open water this summer, use the hashtag #RememberRony on social media.