The recent heatwave has tragically led to a number of drownings in London recently as the temptation to cool off in open water has increased. The London Fire Brigade is hoping to persuade citizens to fight the urge to enter any rivers, canals, or docks. Despite the sweltering heat, many of London’s ‘swimming spots’ are still cold enough to put you into cold water shock.
The River Thames and other waterways are hot spots for activity, so even in London it’s important you know how to stay safe when near water.
As a Brigade we attend a number of water related incidents and have ten water rescue specialist units across the city and two fire boats at the Lambeth river station.
Top water safety tips
Don’t make a splash, stay safe around water. Always remember:
- Don’t go into the water if someone else is in trouble – call London Fire Brigade or the Coast Guard
- Never drink alcohol and then go for a swim or attempt to jump into water
- Avoid walking/running near water on your own or late at night – it’s easier than you think to slip and fall in
What do I do if I see someone in the water?
If you go into the water to rescue people, pets or belongings, you could be putting yourself at risk as well.
If you do see someone in the water there are steps you can take to help them:
- Dial 999 and ask for London Fire Brigade (and if on the Thames, the coastguard as well).
- If you don’t have a mobile phone, shout to raise the alarm, or go and get help.
- Try to give an exact location of where you are. Look around for any landmarks or signs; for example bridges will often have numbers on them which can identify their position.
- If a person is in trouble, keep talking to them, encourage them to stay calm and float on their back.
- Keep your eyes on the spot where you last saw them so you can tell the emergency services when they arrive.
- If there is life saving equipment such as a lifebuoy or a throwline nearby throw it to them. If not, throw anything that will float.