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Last updated: 30/04/2018, 3:28 PM

New figures released in Drowning Prevention Week reveal Brigade attended more than 200 water related incidents in five years

23/04/2018 12:45
London-wide
Safety warnings

Firefighters are urging people to stay safe around rivers, lakes, canals and other bodies of water as temperatures begin to rise in the capital.

In the last five years, the Brigade has attended more than 200 water related incidents, a total of 20 people have died and 58 people have been injured.

Last year, firefighters were called to 37 water related incidents, with the majority calls to people in rivers, canals or other waterways. Of these 37 incidents, 14 people were injured and 4 people died.

The new statistics have been released to coincide with the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Week, which runs from 23 to 29 April.

This summer we are urging people to #BeWaterAware. With the weather heating up it may be tempting to dive in and cool off in one of the many lakes or canals in London. Despite warm weather outside, temperatures of many swimming spots in London are still cold enough to put a person into water shock even in the height of summer.

Chris O'Connor, the Brigade’s head of community safety, said:

"It's incredibly dangerous to jump into water because it's impossible to see hidden obstacles under the surface. It's very easy to slip and get into difficulties.

"Sadly people drown each year and we'd hate for someone else to become another statistic for the sake of having a laugh or showing off to their mates."

What do to if someone falls in

The Brigade's water safety advice is as follows:

  • If someone falls into deep water the first thing is to call for help straightaway. 
  • Call 999 and ask for the fire service and ambulance. When you have made this call, shout for help from anyone who might be close by.
  • Never enter the water to try and save someone. This can add to the problem even if you are a strong swimmer. 
  • If there's no lifesaving equipment, look around for something to reach out to them such as a scarf or a long stick. 
  • Lie on the ground so your body is safely on the edge to avoid being pulled in.