Stay safe around water this #DrowningPreventionWeek
This week marks #DrowningPreventionWeek, one of the largest water safety campaigns across the UK that was created by The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS) back in 2013 to raise awareness of being safe by the water. In the Summer months, the risk of accidental drowning increases significantly because people are more likely to spend time outdoors and around water with the warmer weather.
Across the city of Milton Keynes, there are more shorelines than the whole island of Jersey, so we prioritise raising awareness of the dangers associated with our waterbodies across the 6000 acres of greenspaces and parks we care for.
How can you stay safe around the water?
- Stay out of the water unless you engage in organised activities that follow safety precautions.
- If you find yourself unintentionally in the water, it is best to float on your back.
- The safest place for you to swim is still a swimming pool.
- If you do see someone in the water that is in trouble, please call 999 and ask for the Bucks Fire & Rescue, as they have a dedicated water rescue team.
On the surface, the rivers and lakes may look inviting, but it is what's underneath that can be hazardous. With the rise and fall of the water levels throughout the year, you might not always be able to see what's lurking beneath. Hidden hazards and underwater structures such as weirs can't always be seen from above, and jumping into waterbodies could cause serious injury. There also may be bacteria and algae that can make you sick if water is accidentally swallowed.
Even in warm weather, the water can be freezing. Cold water shock can immobilise even the strongest of swimmers. If you want to swim, the safest places to go are swimming pools or getting involved in organised wild swimming activities where qualified lifeguards can keep you safe.
Wild Swimming's increase in popularity
We understand that Wild Swimming has grown in popularity in recent years. The safest place in Milton Keynes to get involved in wild swimming is joining Love Open Water at Willen Lake, where they offer lifeguarded sessions, changing facilities and showers for a charged entry fee that can be seen on their website.
Learn more about this topic using The Royal Life Saving Society's 'Water Safety Education' page, which provides free resources for schools, community groups, and families. Alternatively, we offer free assemblies for schools across Milton Keynes to talk to children about staying safe around water and educating them about the potential dangers.