Last week, the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK), the national charity and leader in lifesaving and lifeguarding training across the UK and Ireland, brought its annual Drowning Prevention Week campaign to Westminster.
Alun Cairns came together with the RLSS UK CEO and Charity Director, lifeguards, Olympian Professor Greg Whyte OBE, Paralympian Ellie Robinson MBE, and over 50 other Parliamentarians to discuss the importance of spreading water safety awareness, as well as what practical steps could be taken in the Vale of Glamorgan to address the issue.
At the event, Alun Cairns had the chance to see this guidance first-hand, including how to use throw lines, how to respect bodies of water, among other resources and also check out the cutting-edge equipment that is now being used to keep our shorelines and lakes safer than ever.
The RLSS UK also showed MPs the charity’s brand-new animation aimed at educating parents and their children about water safety and starting conversations of how their family can enjoy the water safely this summer.
Alun Cairns commented,
"It is an honour to support this life saving campaign. I want to thanks RLSS UK for campaigning so passionately on the issue and for encouraging MP's like myself to better understand the nature of the issue. With the Vale being a costal community it is so important to educate those who use the water to use it safely."
Over 400 people die every year in the UK and Ireland from accidental drowning, yet every drowning is avoidable. Of those who drown, some 40% had no intention of entering the water in the first place. Yet people should still feel free to enjoy the water, as with the correct education and awareness, this can be done safely.
Drowning Prevention Week, which began on 18th June and continues until 25th June, encourages the public to be ready to enjoy being in, on, or around water this summer by ensuring that they and their families have a good understanding of water safety.
Lee Heard, Charity Director at RLSS UK said:
“With June, July, and August proving to be the months with the most fatalities, it is vitally important that everyone understands water safety, especially during the summer months.
“We want to ensure that everyone can enjoy their summer break and enjoy being in or around water but be safe in the knowledge that they, and their children, have the skills and understanding about water safety, which could potentially save a life.”
“It is fantastic to have Alun supporting our Drowning Prevention Week campaign and highlighting the issues surrounding water safety education and helping to educate communities in the Vale
Olympian Professor Greg Whyte OBE, said:
“I have been privileged to work with the Royal Life Saving Society UK for many years, as we strive to spread awareness around water safety and help people to enjoy water safely.
“Every MP who came along to our event, and who helps us spread the message and awareness of this important campaign is helping us reach our ultimate goal of zero water deaths, and for that I am grateful.”
Paralympian Ellie Robinson MBE, said:
“While swimming ability is of course crucial, far more worrying is the statistic that some 40% of people who drown had no intention of entering the water in the first place. Only by spreading greater awareness of water safety can we help people to enjoy water safely and reduce fatalities.”
The event came quickly after the inaugural meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Water Safety. This took place earlier this month and aims to establish more accessible water safety education across the UK to prevent future drownings.
Damien Moore MP, Chair of the APPG on Water Safety, said:
“Every drowning is a tragedy, and despite the RLSS UK’s excellent education campaign having reached an estimated 20 million people across the UK, these horrific accidents continue to happen.
“It is my sincerest hope that by hosting this event in Parliament, we have helped to further spread awareness of how best to enjoy water safely, so that ultimately lives can be saved.
“I want to thank the RLSS UK, along with every MP who came along to our event, for the vital work that they are doing in spreading awareness.”
-- ENDS --
Notes to Editors.
Drowning Prevention Week takes place 18th-25th June. Free resources can be downloaded from www.rlss.org.uk/dpw and the animation can be viewed by visiting www.rlss.org.uk/drowning-prevention-week-animation.