Andrew Gwynne, MP for Denton and Reddish, is supporting Drowning Prevention Week 2020, in a bid to help families stay water-safe during and after lockdown.
Due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19, the usual level of service provided by rescue and lifeguard services is not going to be possible in 2020. This makes personal water safety more important than ever before.
The UK’s Drowning Prevention Charity, the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK), fears that families will flock to beaches and inland water locations this summer, without considering the potential dangers, putting themselves and others at risk.
In 2017, Denton and Reddish constituent Liam Pastore, who was then a pupil at Reddish Vale Technology College and just 14 years old, rescued a woman and her step-daughter from the sea at Formby Beach in Southport. They were not confident swimmers and were dragged away from the shore by a strong tide. Liam saw they were in difficultly, grabbed hold of them both and swam them back to safety.
Liam’s quick-thinking and selfless actions on that day undoubtedly prevented a tragedy. He has since received a number of awards for his heroic action, including the Royal Humane Society Bronze Medal.
In a bid to ensure families in Denton and Reddish know how to keep themselves and others safe, Andrew Gwynne is supporting RLSS UK’s annual Drowning Prevention Week campaign, this year running from 12-19 June.
RLSS UK launched the campaign seven years ago as a way of focusing the UK’s attention on the importance of water safety, during one focal week of activities. A wide range of free, downloadable resources have been produced to help supporters promote water safety through schools, leisure centres, swimming clubs, community ventures and businesses.
The Charity hopes that through the campaign, the UK and Ireland will see a reduction in the statistics that see approximately 700 people losing their lives to drowning every year – that’s one every 12 hours. Many more suffer injury, sometimes lifechanging, following a water related incident.
Andrew Gwynne said:
“A lot of people will want to enjoy themselves in the water over the next few Summer months, but it’s so important that people do it safely.
“Most people are surprised to learn that, in the UK, you’re more likely to die from drowning than being hit by a car. That’s why Drowning Prevention Week is so important.
“It’s fantastic when bystanders like my constituent Liam Pastore are around to save lives as he did so heroically in 2017, but that’s not always the case so I’d encourage everyone to use this Drowning Prevention Week to learn more about keeping safe in the water.”
RLSS UK CEO, Robert Gofton said:
“This year’s campaigns will focus on encouraging everybody to take personal responsibility near water, especially in light of the current challenges facing our emergency and rescue services.
“Venues and rescue services are doing everything they can to provide a service this summer, but the harsh reality is that in the current climate, despite a big effort, the usual level of service just isn’t feasible.
“Accidental drowning incidents are largely avoidable if the correct choices are made, coupled with the skills and knowledge for personal survival and bystander rescue.
“These skills are easy to learn and free to access. We are urging individuals and families to take care, take responsibility and learn what to do in an emergency.”