Life-saving throwlines are being installed at open water sites across Lancashire in a bid to stop fatalities.
A water safety campaign was launched at Cuerden Valley Park last summer, supported by the families of David Layfield and Dylan Ramsay, who were 14 and 13 when they drowned; David at Cuerden Valley and Dylan at Hill Top Quarry in Whittle-le-Woods.
Landowner United Utilities saw the work done by Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, and now, in conjunction with the service and their colleagues at Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, are rolling out a larger scheme to help prevent reservoir drownings.
The scheme will see 20 throwlines installed at eight locations, each in memory of someone who has drowned.
There will be one installed at Audenshaw Reservoir and another at Fishmoor in memory of Dylan Ramsay from Chorley, two at Greenbooth reservoir, two at Dove Stone Reservoir, and three at Hollingworth Lake in memory of Paul Lawson from Rochdale, one at Audenshaw reservoir in memory of Dwayne Thomas, three at Gorton reservoir in memory of Mark Allen from Manchester, two at Jumbles reservoir in memory of Steven Dyson from Bury, and three at High Rid reservoir in memory of Dominic McLoughlin of Bolton.
Martin Padley, Water Services Director at United Utilities, said: “The land around our reservoirs is a wonderful natural resource and we want to do everything possible to encourage people to visit and enjoy the health benefits of being out in the countryside.
“However, reservoirs are too dangerous for swimming and despite our best efforts to raise awareness of the dangers there are always a few who will take a chance. Sadly, four people have lost their lives over the last two years in the North West alone.
“We hope the throwlines and the information displayed with them will help deter people from swimming and, if the worst should happen, it could make the difference between life and death.”
The boards will hold key life-saving advice on them as well as accurate location details in the event that the emergency services need to be contacted. The boards will contain a ‘locked’ canister, which is accessed by a code given to the caller by fire control room operators, containing a whistle and throw line which gives people a means of assisting someone in trouble without risking entering the water themselves.
The boards are bespoke to their location and contain a unique location code so that emergency services can locate the incident as quickly as possible.
Group Manager Mark Hutton, from Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service said: “We are really pleased to see a major utility provider deciding to install water safety boards and by doing so recognising just how important they can be in preventing loss of life, both in terms of the important safety messages they convey, and also their life saving function in the event of an emergency.
“We are increasingly working with colleagues from other Fire and Rescue Services, North West Fire Control and other open water site owners who are now starting to take a similarly pro-active approach at their high risk sites.
"Although water safety boards are an important safety measure, they are only a small part of keeping people safe around water."