Message from the Chair
As I write this, it’s still November… and it’s still raining.
We’ve seen flooding across the UK caused by storms Babet and Ciarán and, sadly, some loss of life. In my day job (Emergency Services), it never ceases to amaze me that many people try to drive through floodwater in vehicles and get stuck, while others head to the coast to try to capture dramatic photos of waves crashing against piers and coastlines, only to underestimate the risk and get swept off their feet or, worse, into the sea!
At this time of the year, therefore, we need to spread the word about winter water safety, and in this newsletter you can read updates on forthcoming campaigns that can help get the message across. Gathering data and intelligence, and conducting research, continue to be important for NWSF, and we’re pleased to be collaborating with the IDRA (International Drowning Research Alliance) and the WHO (World Health Organization), and we’ll continue to do so into 2024 through our membership. It’s also important that we work with academic institutions and government departments to keep abreast of the opportunities ahead. For example, we know that several government departments are working together to assess the impacts of extreme weather and, of course, weather and raised temperatures have an important bearing on water safety.
The NWSF Co-ordinating group have recently met, and you can follow up on their work on the website. We’re in very early stages of discussions to build on the success of WSS (Water Safety Scotland) and WSW (Water Safety Wales) by seeking to collaborate with partners to create WSNI (Water Safety Northern Ireland). We’re also starting to consider a refresh of the UK Drowning Prevention Strategy early next year. So, if you’re involved in an advisory group, I encourage you to gather your thoughts on how we can best do this.
Finally, as this is the last newsletter of 2023, I would like to wish you all seasonal greetings, peace, and time with those you care about this Christmas.