Lancaster is county's hotspot for water related rescue incidents
Firefighters are urging people to stay safe when out enjoying water beauty spots as lockdown eases.
Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service (LFRS) is anticipating many people will head to coastal locations and inland water beauty spots over the coming warmer months.
In 2019 across the UK, more people died from accidental drowning than cyclists did on the road, and half of accidental drownings in occurred when people didn't intend to go in the water.
The Lancaster district is Lancashire's hotspot for water related incidents, with 28 per cent of all recorded incidents in the county.
Because of this, Lancaster Area Search and Rescue teams will be out patrolling the River Lune on summer weekends.Operation Bankside launched in August last year, as hundreds of people descended on the many beauty spots along the river to swim and sunbathe.But the Lune also presents serious dangers, and between August and September 2020, LASAR said it made nine critical interventions, responded to two major First Aid incidents, and carried out 228 "preventative actions".
Kirsty McCreesh, group manager for prevention in Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “As the weather improves and we venture out to explore, please be mindful of the dangers of open water.
"Even on a beautiful, sunny day water temperatures can be dangerously low, strong currents can catch you out and there may be hidden hazards underneath the surface.
"Whilst we want people to get outside and enjoy Lancashire we also want people to understand the risks of water, follow advice and be prepared in the event of an incident.
"Drowning is one of the lead causes of accidental death in the UK and it is preventable."
Advice from LFRS:
Never swim alone in case you need help
Don’t drink alcohol when undertaking water related 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 effect of cold water shock pass
Never enter the water to try and rescue someone, call 999 and ask for the Fire Service if inland and the Coastguard if you are at the coast
The fire service said it has successfully reduced the number of fire deaths by focusing on prevention work and now must apply the same principle to tackling drowning.
Look out for #BeWaterAware on social media.
For more water safety advice, visit www.lancsfirerescue.org.uk/water-safety