Water safety training for local businesses

22 August 2017

As part of the Elmbridge Respect the Water campaign, Surrey Fire and Rescue Service will be training staff of The Weir Hotel, Walton-on-Thames in how to use a throw line and bag at 10am on Friday 25 August. 
Elmbridge Borough Council has led on the ‘Respect the Water’ plan for the Borough since May 2017, which is coordinated and monitored by agencies in the Elmbridge Community and Safety Partnership, with the RNLI and Surrey Fire and Rescue Service being vital to its delivery. The Elmbridge Community and Safety Partnership was given £1,000 by the Elmbridge Local Committee to purchase throw bags in support of the Respect the Water campaign.
A key objective of the plan is to train and upskill staff members of local businesses based along the river in how to use throw bags and water safety techniques. Each business that takes part in the training will be given two throw bags to store securely with instructions in their establishments.  A number of staff at The Swan Public House have also recently received training and it is intended to train staff at The Anglers Public House soon. 
Councillor Mrs Mary Marshall, Portfolio Holder for Corporate Development and Communications says, “Of course we want people to enjoy the water but wish them to recognise the dangers of rivers as well as be informed of what to do in case of an emergency. Our fire and rescue service has been called to more than 260 incidents at Surrey’s rivers and lakes in the last seven years. The service will be demonstrating water rescues to the staff of the Weir Hotel and getting them trained in using a throw bag and other life-saving skills that they may need one day. The Elmbridge Community and Safety Partnership aims to make sure key water safety advice reaches people living near or visiting the Surrey stretch of the River Thames. We also include the Boroughs lakes and other rivers in this important initiative. It is reassuring to see our local business taking an interest in water safety.”
Tony Pascall, Watch Commander at Walton Fire Station says, “During 2016, 300 people drowned of which 60% was due to accidently falling in water. Since 2010, 37 people have drowned in open water in Surrey and 33 have died in accidental house fires, according to fire service records. Through our Respect the Water campaign, we want to build on the national conversation about water safety. The Respect the Water campaign is targeted at adult men, who account for a staggering 79% of the fatalities over the past five years in the tidal reaches of the River Thames (57% last year) however the advice is relevant to anyone who goes near the water. We are asking the public and in this case local businesses to remember this lifesaving advice:

  • Float to Live – If you fall in water – float by laying back and pushing your stomach up, calm your breathing then think of the best way to raise the alarm or get out

  • If you see someone in trouble in water, do you know where you are, call 999 ask for fire service.   

It could be the difference between life and death. By training staff in local businesses along the river, we can add a new dimension to water safety in Elmbridge.”
If you are a local business in Elmbridge along the river or by a lake, email communitysafety@elmbridge.gov.uk to register your interest in taking part in future throw bag training.    
For more water safety advice visit Respect the Water.

Further information

Key tips from ‘Respect the Water’

  • When you are near open water, keep away from the edge, stick to designated paths and look out for safety signs.

  • Keep clear of uneven, unstable or slippery ground.

  • Avoid walking alone or at night, and always carry a means of calling for help.

  • If you find yourself in the water unexpectedly, float on your back while you catch your breath. Try to get hold of something that will help you float.

  • Once you’re calm, call for help. Swim for safety if you are able.

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