National Water Safety Forum

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2021

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03/09/2021

September newsletter from the National Water Safety Forum

 

Message from the Chair

This summer has been historic for the National Water Safety Forum.

Following a UN General Assembly resolution passed in April 2021, the first-ever World Drowning Prevention Day was held on Sunday July 25. Around the world, individuals and organisations came together to share a simple yet powerful message ‘anyone can drown, but no one should’. This was truly a milestone for all those who are working towards a future without drowning.

Tragically, we also saw a spike in accidental drownings during the UK heatwave earlier this summer. As temperatures started to soar on Friday July 16, sadly so did the number water-related incidents. We will not know the full extent of the loss of life during the heatwave until we publish the WAID report next year. However, we do know that in this period we were seeing roughly double the average number of water-related incidents we would expect to see in a ‘normal’ year.

With extreme weather events possibly here to stay, it is vital that members of the National Water Safety Forum learn the lessons from this summer and double down on our efforts to reduce the number of accidental drownings. 

On World Drowning Prevention Day, NWSF members demonstrated how we can have greater impact when we speak with one voice. We will carry forward that energy and unity of purpose to our ongoing Respect the Water Campaign.

We achieve so much more together. 

Until next time,
Dawn Whittaker
Chair of the National Water Safety Forum. 

 

 

World Drowning Prevention Day

For the first time in its 75 year history, the United Nations (UN) has adopted a resolution on drowning prevention. As part of the resolution, July 25th has been designated as World Drowning Prevention Day.

Over a five day period, in the run up to World Drowning Prevention Day,  more than 38,000 impressions were clocked up on the NWSF twitter account alone. Many NSWF member organisations and individuals shared messages and assets relating to World Drowning Prevention Day on their own channels.

In Scotland, The Kelpies, 30ft horse-head structures, were lit up in blue to mark this historical moment (see below). A number of national and regional outlets covered the awareness-raising day including: The Scotsman, The Telegraph  & Argus and Falkirk Herald.

Commenting on the first World Drowning Prevention Day, Dawn Whittaker, NWSF Chair said: “I know I speak for all members of the National Water Safety Forum when I say that I welcome the UN resolution on drowning prevention and this new awareness-raising day which is all the more poignant because of the recent spike in accidental drownings during the heatwave in July.

"I look forward to seeing the impact of World Drowning Prevention Day in the years to come.” 

 

 

Ministerial Round Table

In July, members of the National Water Safety Forum attended a roundtable discussion with UK Government Minister for Aviation, Maritime and Security, Robert Courts MP.

The meeting was convened during ‘Maritime Safety Week’ in order to discuss the UN resolution on drowning prevention, swimming lessons in schools and the latest Water Incident Database (WAID) report. The discussion focused on the work of the  National Water Safety Forum and representations were made about drowning prevention at the highest levels of government. 

 

 

Emergency Services Day

Emergency Services Day (also known as 999 Day) is a national day across the UK that is supported by HM The Queen and is held annually on September 9.

#999Day highlights the work of the emergency services, promotes using the emergency services responsibly, educates the public about basic lifesaving skills, and advertises the many career and volunteering opportunities available with the services. 

The National Water Safety Forum is encouraging members to support 999 day by sharing messages on their social media channels. 

Download #999Day assets

 

 

#BeAMate 

Later this month, The Royal Life Saving Society will be launching their #BeAMate campaign, which encourages smart decision making whilst intoxicated around water. The campaign targets individuals to be responsible for their friends, if they have had too much to drink.  

To coincide the start of autumn term at some UK universities, the #BeAMate campaign will run from  September 19-26 and will resume on December 6- 12 as the Christmas party season begins.

 Read More

 
 

Save The Date: RoSPA Water Safety Conference Nov 18 

The RoSPA Water Safety Conference 2021 will be held online on the November 18 and will focus on current developments in water Safety in specific reference to the recent UN Resolution on drowning prevention and how the UK can work towards meeting this challenge. 

Through a global, national and local lens, the conference will focus on examples of research, partnership working, collaboration and the future for water safety and drowning prevention in the UK. 

 

 

Parliamentary Debate on Water Safety

 On Monday 12 July 2021, Catherine McKinnell MP,  led an UK Parliament E-petition debate relating to water safety to seek an enhancement to the current statutory requirement for water safety delivery in England.

The petition, signed by more than 100,000 people, called for improvements to water safety education in schools and was launched led by ‘Doing It For Dylan’ campaigner, Rebecca Ramsey MBE. 

At the conclusion of the debate the Minister of State for School Standards, Nick Gibb, made a commitment to open dialogue with the water safety sector and the NWSF.  NWSF colleagues have been proactively working on a proposal to move the conversation forward.

Watch the debate


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26/07/2021

Press release Saturday, July 24, 2021

National Water Safety Forum welcomes UN’s Drowning Prevention Day

 

The National Water Safety Forum (NWSF), a network of more than 50 organisations who work together in order to reduce water-related deaths and associated harm in the UK, welcomes the first World Drowning Prevention Day which will be marked on Sunday, July 25.

 

World Drowning Prevention Day was instigated following a UN General Assembly resolution passed in April 2021, which affirmed the fact that drowning is preventable, and stresses the need for member states to have a coordinated response. The awareness day will be held annually on July 25.

 

According to figures compiled by the World Health Organisation, globally, an estimated 235,600 people drown every year, and drowning is among the ten leading causes of death for children aged 5-14 years around the world. 

 

Commenting on the eve of the first World Drowning Prevention Day, Dawn Whittaker, NWSF chair, said: “Tomorrow, individuals and organisations from across the globe will be marking the first World Drowning Prevention Day and speaking with one voice to say that anyone can drown, but no one should.

 

I know I speak for all members of the National Water Safety Forum when I say that I welcome the UN resolution on drowning prevention and this new awareness-raising day which is all the more poignant because of the recent spike in accidental drownings during the hot weather this month. I look forward to seeing the impact of World Drowning Prevention Day in the years to come.”

 

The latest figures from the Water Incident Database (WAID), which is maintained by the NWSF, show that in 2020 there were 254 accidental drownings and 631 total water-related fatalities in the UK.

 

Last year, almost half (43 per cent) of those who accidentally drowned had no intention to enter the water, with causes including slips, trips and falls, being cut off by the tide, or being swept in by waves.  Inland open waters, such as rivers, canals, lakes, reservoirs and quarries continue to be the leading locations for accidental drowning with 58 per cent of incidents taking place in these settings.

 

The UK has a drowning prevention strategy, with equivalents for Wales, and Scotland, which aims to reduce accidental drowning fatalities as well as contributing to the reduction of water-based suicide. The strategy was produced by members of the National Water Safety Forum including the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).

 

Carlene McAvoy, leisure safety manager at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) said: “Since the launch of the National Drowning Prevention Strategy in 2016, great strides have been made towards to reducing fatal water incidents in the UK. However, 254 people accidentally drowned last year which demonstrates there is still a lot more work to be done.

 

“RoSPA will continue to support the National Water Safety Forum and combine our efforts to help keep people safe on, and near, the water through the ‘Respect the Water’ campaign. World Drowning Prevention Day provides an unmissable opportunity to share life-saving water safety messages, but also gives us the chance to reflect on the progress made to reduce the number of accidental drownings in the UK, as well as allowing us to consider what further action needs to be taken.

The public are also reminded to ‘float to live’ if they find themselves getting into trouble in the water and to follow these steps: lean back and use your arms and legs to help you float, then get control of your breathing before calling for help or swimming to safety. 

 

If you see someone else in trouble in the water, call 999.  If you are at the seaside ask for the coastguard, if you are inland, ask for the fire service.


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21/07/2021

Are you ready for World Drowning Prevention Day?

 

Sunday July 25 2021.

Write it down on your calendar.

Put it in your phone.

 

This coming Sunday, individuals and organisations from across the globe will be marking the first ‘World Drowning Prevention Day’ and sharing the simple yet powerful message that anyone can drown, no on one should.

World Drowning Prevention Day was declared as part of UN General Assembly resolution passed in April 2021, which affirmed the fact that drowning is preventable and stresses the need for member states to have a coordinated response.

The Resolution requests all 193 Member States of the United Nations to do the following:

 

  • Appoint a national focal point for drowning prevention
  • Develop a national drowning prevention plan
  • Develop drowning prevention programming in line with the WHO’s recommendations
  • Ensure enactment and effective enforcement of water safety laws
  • Encourage the registration of drowning deaths
  • Promote drowning prevention public awareness

 

This global advocacy event will serve as an opportunity to highlight the tragic and profound impact of drowning on families and communities all over the world and offer life-saving solutions to prevent it. An estimated 235,600 people drown every year and drowning is among the ten leading causes of death for children aged 5-14 years. More than 90% of drowning deaths occur in rivers, lakes, wells, domestic water storage vessels and swimming pools in low- and middle-income countries, with children and adolescents in rural areas disproportionately affected.

Specifically in the UK, progress has already been made in drowning prevention through work with the National Water Safety Forum, Water Safety Scotland and Water Safety Wales. The UK has a drowning prevention strategy (with devolved equivalents) which aims to reduce accidental drowning fatalities as well as contributing to the reduction of water-based suicide.

The NWSF wholeheartedly supports World Drowning Prevention Day and we will be encouraging all our members to get involved.

World Drowning Prevention Day will be held annually on July 25 and I look forward to seeing the impact that this awareness-raising initiative will have both in UK and overseas.

Dawn Whittaker
Chair
National Water Safety Forum

 

 

To find out more about World Drowning Prevention Day head here.

 Help share the message by downloading our World Drowning Prevention Day social media assets and our list of suggested messages


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21/07/2021

NWSF update - World Drowning Prevention Day 25th July 2021

The very first World Drowning Prevention Day is taking place on Sunday July 25th. This follows on from the United Nations General Assembly affirming drowning as a preventable global public health issue. The full resolution can be read online here.

The NWSF supports World Drowning Prevention Day and urges all members to do the same by spreading the word about this worldwide issue by talking about it with both your own organisation and publicly via your networks and social media channels.

In preparation, we have launched a NWSF World Drowning Prevention Day webpage where you can find social media assets and suggested messages for your use.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has also released guidance for organisations around the world which can be accessed online here.

We strongly recommend using the following hashtags in any social media posts:

#DrowningPrevention

#DrowningPrevention Day

#RespectTheWater

and please tag us on twitter: @NWSFweb

Thank you in advance for your support on this very special day for all members of the NWSF and everyone in the wider drowning prevention community.

Best wishes,
Dawn Whittaker
Chair
National Water Safety Forum

 

Download the WPD assets


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08/07/2021

Events update for July 2021

 

Dear members

There are two water safety related events are taking place on Monday 12th July - please see below for further information and details on how to sign up:

 

 

 

 


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