In 2017 alone 600 people died of water related fatalities across the UK’s watercourses and open water areas.
As a result SAR teams and emergency services across the UK have adopted a more effective rescue system at our water sites; the Reach and Rescue Pole.
In addition, due to this devastating number of water related fatalities, the Local Government Association now urges schools to teach the importance of water safety awareness throughout the country. The association, in a recent study, noted that there has been a 25% increase in accidental drowning fatalities amongst young people in the UK.
This article, and more to follow, will form part on an on-going dialog with businesses, local authorities, ports and other maritime associations as well as the general public, in an effort to urge the masses to ‘Pick-Up-A-Pole’, a slogan that could become a lot more than just a social media hashtag; it could save lives!
Let’s take a look at the currently accepted forms of water safety equipment often adopted at our watercourses and open water sites;
A great and national treasure that visually represents marinas and ports at a glance, the LifeRing is an effective tool to reach and rescue potential casualties in the water if found in great difficulty. However, the question we often ask is; “What good is the LifeRing for an unconscious victim?”
The answer is simple; it’s not very good at all. Casting out a LifeRing to a casualty in water, potentially under water or unconscious, is absolutely redundant.
The Throw Bag
Again, the ThrowBag is an ancient water safety institution in its own right. Archetypal in water rescue efforts for eons; a simple rope thrown in the water for a victim to grab hold of as they are dragged to safety. However, the same question persists; ““What good is the Throwbag for an unconscious victim?” and guess what, the answer is exactly the same; not very good at all.
Non-Telescopic Poles / Wading Poles
The wading pole is a very effective water aid. Great for water rescue teams in aiding stability when in difficult water related incidents and general water related work. However, wading poles are not designed and manufactured for assisting in rescue situations. They are specifically designed to wade through water and provide support and stability, not for water casualties to grab hold of in water incidents. In addition, other non-telescopic rescue poles with a limited reach can provide more accuracy and success in the retrieval of water casualties, but only as long as they are within that limited reach. Access to the victim and retrieval of unconscious casualties is still grossly limited with smaller poles, and very few pole systems offer appropriate attachments to suit the needs of varying water rescue situations.
So, what’s missing?
It’s high time that any water related businesses, local authorities, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, our government and the general public developed a keen awareness of water safety in the UK and join us in our campaign by sharing and posting our slogan Never Wait Until it’s Too Late; #PickUpAPole.
Hundreds of people each year should not be dying of something so tragic and terrible when we have the amazing technology at our disposal to quickly, effectively and safely rescue water causalities. Reach and Rescue are currently in talks with local MP’s, coastal officials and emergency service departments across the country desperately encouraging that they ‘PickUpAPole’, before it’s too late.
For more information about our Pick-Up-A-Pole campaign, for information on how you could get funding for your rescue charity or to speak to one of the team call 03301 595088 or visit www.reachandrescue.com and use the contact page.