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Highland Council to support Drowning Prevention Week 2022

By Federica Stefani

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Highland Council is supporting Drowning Prevention Week 2022.
Highland Council is supporting Drowning Prevention Week 2022.

AN initiative to raise awareness on the risks associated with water is being backed by the local authority.

Highland Council is supporting Drowning Prevention Day 2022 to highlight the risks which exist even in the most seemingly tranquil areas of water.

With some of the most beautiful stretches of water and coastline in the UK, visitors to Highland are spoiled for choice when it comes to water and scenery.

However, with such an availability of water comes the associated risks if care is not taken.

Drowning Prevention Week 2022 runs from June 18 to 25 and the local authority is reminding tourists and residents alike about the dangers which exist and how to stay safe.

Highland Council Leader, councillor Raymond Bremner, said: “We are very lucky here in Highland to have some of the most stunning beaches, rivers, lochs and burns (streams) anywhere in the UK.

“However, dangers still exist around any stretch of water and we are encouraging people to take all precautions. Water may look safe, but it can be dangerous. It’s important to spot and keep away from dangers.”

He added: “People may think they are able to swim very well, especially in a warm indoor pool, but that does not mean that you will be able to swim in cold water. That includes reservoirs, lochs, rivers or the sea.

“We fully support Drowning Prevention Week and its important Highland Council underlines the dangers which exist, especially as we have so much water in the region and lots of visitors.”

In April 2021, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly affirmed drowning as a preventable global public health issue and declared July 25 as World Drowning Prevention Day.

Highland Council are supporting Water Safety Scotland and their call to support World Drowning Prevention Day on the day.

It's vital to be aware of what risks come from being in water.
It's vital to be aware of what risks come from being in water.

The dangers of water include:

  • Very cold temperatures
  • Hidden currents
  • It can be deep
  • It is difficult to estimate depth
  • There may be hidden rubbish or debris like shopping trolleys or broken glass
  • It can be difficult to get out (steep slimy banks)
  • Many areas of water have no lifeguards
  • Special flags and notices may warn you of danger. Know what the signs mean and do what they tell you.

It’s important to go as a group and not alone. Children especially should always go with an adult. An adult can point out dangers or help if somebody gets into trouble.

You can also teach yourself how to help. You may be able to help yourself and others if you know what to do in an emergency. If you see someone in difficulty, tell somebody, or go to the nearest telephone and dial 999, ask for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service at inland water sites and the MCA (Maritime and Coastguard Agency) if you are at the beach.

If you get into difficulty and need help or medical assistance, please follow these steps:

Phone the emergency services on 999. When the operator asks which service, state: Police Scotland. Provide accurate details of the incident and location (grid references are very useful) – if you are in remote location with difficult access, it is important to emphasise this.

The Police will assess the situation and send help.

More information can be found on websites such as ROSPA, RNLI, Scottish Water and useful videos on Education Scotland National Improvement Hub.

You can also find useful information reading Scotland’s Drowning Prevention Strategy.

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