Broadside businesses benefit from initiative to help prevent drowning

Staff from local establishments in Oulton Broad being taught how to safely use a throw bag.

Staff from local establishments in Oulton Broad being taught how to safely use a throw bag. - Credit: Mick Howes

Staff from numerous broadside businesses were given some vital advice and training as part of a multi-agency initiative to help prevent drowning.

Important advice was given at the respect the water training event.

Important advice was given at the respect the water training event. - Credit: Mick Howes

With the staff from premises close to the waterside in Oulton Broad, Lowestoft given practical 'throw bag' training on Tuesday afternoon, the event was hailed a success.

Staff from local establishments in Oulton Broad being taught how to safely use a throw bag.

Staff from local establishments in Oulton Broad being taught how to safely use a throw bag. - Credit: Mick Howes

The aim of the training was to teach the staff from local establishments in Oulton Broad how to safely rescue someone from the broads using a throw bag.

Staff from local establishments in Oulton Broad being taught how to rescue someone

Staff from local establishments in Oulton Broad being taught how to rescue someone and safely use a throw bag. - Credit: Mick Howes

Nick Ayers, water safety lead for the RNLI in North and East of England, said: “The RNLI, Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, HM Coastguard, Norfolk Constabulary Broads Beat and the Oulton Broad Harbour Master have all come together to raise awareness of drowning prevention and to give practical guidance on how to use a throw bag.

"By the end of the training, they will be all equipped and trained to use the throw bag and will be gifted one from the RNLI.

Staff from local establishments in Oulton Broad being taught how to safely use a throw bag.

Staff from local establishments in Oulton Broad being taught how to rescue someone and safely use a throw bag. - Credit: Mick Howes

“RNLI research shows that half the people who drown in the UK around waterside areas didn’t intend to enter the water – they do so through slips, trips and falls, possibly on the way back from bars, clubs and restaurants or similar waterside venues.

"Fire services will be called to rescue people from the water, co-ordinated by the UK coastguard, but speedy help from those nearby can be a life saver.”

Important advice was given at the respect the water training event.

Important advice was given at the respect the water training event. - Credit: Mick Howes

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Mr Ayers added: “The training we give involves going through a guidance booklet put together by the RNLI in conjunction with the Fire Brigade and the Royal Lifesaving Society and it follows the ‘talk, reach, and throw' rescue techniques.

The Be Water Aware banner.

The Be Water Aware banner. - Credit: Mick Howes

"We demonstrate how to use the throw bag and let them try doing it themselves before finally we put people in the water from fire and coastguard so those being trained will be able to feel what it is like to pull a real person to the water’s edge.”

Staff from local establishments in Oulton Broad being taught how to safely use a throw bag.

Staff from local establishments in Oulton Broad being taught how to safely use a throw bag. - Credit: Mick Howes

Mel Buck, fire prevention officer for Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, said: "Suffolk Fire Service attended just over 30 incidents last year related to water and we would like to get those figures down to zero.

Staff from local establishments in Oulton Broad being taught how to rescue someone

Staff from local establishments in Oulton Broad being taught how to rescue someone and safely use a throw bag. - Credit: Mick Howes

"A good number of the past incidents have involved people stepping on and off their boats, but others have been falls around the unprotected edges around the bars and restaurants that face the river - especially if alcohol has been consumed.

Staff from local establishments in Oulton Broad being taught how to rescue someone

Staff from local establishments in Oulton Broad being taught how to rescue someone and safely use a throw bag. - Credit: Mick Howes

“We have visited 15 businesses in and around the waterfront at Oulton Broad and trained a number of their staff.

"As this has been successful it is likely that we will be visiting Beccles and Ipswich Marina – to make it a be Suffolk-wide initiative.

Staff from local establishments in Oulton Broad being taught how to rescue someone

Staff from local establishments in Oulton Broad being taught how to rescue someone and safely use a throw bag. - Credit: Mick Howes

"This is linked to the ‘Be Water Aware’ campaign headed up by the National Fire Chiefs Council which is happening nationally and is why we are doing this now - to raise awareness and to strengthen the communities focus of drowning prevention.”

Important advice was given at the event.

Important advice was given at the event. - Credit: Mick Howes

Remember to

Talk – to the casualty and encourage them to float and reassure them that you are getting help.

Reach – Use a long object or similar as you may be able to reach the casualty. Do not go into the water yourself.

Throw – the throw bag to the casualty and pull them back to the side.