Visiting North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service to learn about river safety
I visited York Fire Station in Clifford Street today to learn about the importance of river safety and the training which North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service is giving to riverside businesses. I also saw a demonstration carried out by the boat crew on the River Ouse.
There are around 1500 deaths by drowning in the UK each year. Twenty-five per cent of these are in the sea and the rest are in inland waterways including rivers, lakes and reservoirs. Most of the casualties are children and young people. In York, four people lost their lives last year and despite a major campaign to highlight the dangers, there are still people jumping in to the river, often under the influence of alcohol. The Ouse is unpredictable, with the middle of the river deeper and colder than people expect. Even in warm weather, temperatures are dangerously low and this can even affect strong swimmers, causing loss of strength and muscle coordination.
In recent years a number of young people from York have lost their lives either by swimming in the river or by jumping in after they have had a few drinks. The river may look calm and tempting on a hot sunny day but it presents hidden dangers and excessive alcohol can impair judgement and reaction times. This can lead to tragic and sometimes fatal consequences.
I am pleased that North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue is doing everything it can to educate people about the dangers involved with the river. I hope people will heed the advice.