Fire service warns Sussex residents about dangers of drowning this spring

West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service is urging Sussex residents to be careful around rivers and the coast this spring.

The fire service is supporting the National Fire Chiefs Council’s Be Water Aware campaign, which runs from April 26 until May 2.

Drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental deaths in the UK.

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Some 223 people accidentally drowned in 2019 and 44 percent of these were simply near water and had no intention of going into it.

The River Adur. Picture by Derek Martin

“We all know that when the weather is nice our beaches, rivers and lakes become very busy with people,” said Marvin Smith, national resilience flood rescue tactical advisor.

“We don’t want to discourage people from enjoying our beautiful coastline, we want to encourage them to be water aware by understanding the risks, and knowing what to do in the event of an emergency.”

People near water are advised to follow these steps:

If you are going for a walk or run always keep to the proper pathways and stay clear of the water’s edge.

Read the local safety information and make sure children are fully supervised.

Do not enter the water if you have had alcohol.

Be aware of rip tides and currents.

Never enter the water to try and help a person or animal. Always call 999 and use any water rescue equipment.

The NFCC is a member of the National Water Safety Forum and is committed to the National Drowning Prevention Strategy, which aims to cut water-related deaths by 50 per cent by 2026.