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2020 / 2021 Edition

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MPA in co-ordinated approach to prevent drowning

MPA water safety

Association supports national joint campaign to reduce water-related deaths and accidents

FOLLOWING a concerning increase in water-related deaths last year, the Mineral Products Association (MPA) is one of more than 50 organizations that are, for the first time, issuing co-ordinated water safety advice for those visiting and enjoying waterways and coastlines as part of the #RespectTheWater campaign. This joint campaign, run by the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF), aims to reduce the number of water-related deaths and accidents.

The campaign comes with the publication of the latest figures from the Water Incident Database (WAID), which is maintained by the NWSF. It shows that 58% of accidental drownings were at inland locations, whilst the total number of accidental drownings in UK waters, across both inland and coastal locations, was 254 – an increase of 34 fatalities compared with 2019.

Key accidental drowning death WAID insights include:

  • Inland open waters, such as rivers, canals, lakes, reservoirs and quarries, continue to be the leading locations, with 58% of deaths (actual number =139).
  • Males continue to over represent with 78% of deaths (199).
  • Almost half (43%) of people (107) had no intention to enter the water, such as those walking, with causes including slips, trips and falls, being cut off by the tide, or being swept into the water by waves.

The collaborating members of the NWSF come from a wide range of sectors including sport governing bodies, rescue services, charities, regulators, navigation and harbour authorities, local government, utilities and those representing quarry operators. In a call to action, members of the NWSF are asking everyone to support and promote the national #RespectTheWater campaign, to reduce drowning this summer.

The national campaign aims to provide simple lifesaving advice which can help members of the public take personal responsibility for their own and their family’s safety by remembering the following lifesaving tips:

  • If you get into trouble in the in the water, Float to Live.
  • Lean back and use your arms and legs to help you float, then get control of your breathing before calling for help or swimming to safety.
  • If you see someone else in trouble in the water, call 999 or 112. If you are at the coast, ask for the coastguard; if you are inland, ask for the fire service.

The aim of this landmark co-ordinated approach is to significantly increase public awareness of key water safety risks as summer approaches and lockdown lifts.

MPA chief executive Nigel Jackson said: ‘We are delighted to be backing this essential initiative and will continue to work collaboratively with the National Water Safety Forum to promote the #RespectTheWater campaign, to reduce drowning this summer.’

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