A lesson in water safety for local youngsters

A lesson in water safety for local youngsters
22 June 2022

We're offering youngsters across the town lessons in water safety in a bid to help keep them safe this summer.

Nationally more than two million children missed out on swimming during the pandemic, while an estimated 250,000 youngsters are unable to swim the length of a standard swimming pool.

Now, with the summer holidays fast approaching a series of water safety sessions have been developed by our staff at the Dolphin Centre, with 25 primary schools across the borough signing up for them.

The sessions will cover:

  • The water safety code.
  • Knowing that water is dangerous.
  • Never going anywhere alone/with strangers or lying where you are going and the dangers of doing so.
  • Knowing the different colours of beach flags.
  • What cold waters shock is (CWS) and how it affects your body.
  • Knowing what to do if you fall into outdoor water (floating on your back, raising the alarm)
  • Knowing how to help someone in trouble (Never get in the water, call 999 ask for fire and rescue service)
  • Talk about the What3Words app and why it is important.

 

Our Public Health team has also supported a programme of additional pool time for children as part of their school swimming lessons to help those who may have missed out during the pandemic.

Councillor Kevin Nicholson, the council’s cabinet member for health and housing, said:

“Being able to swim and stay safe in the water is an invaluable life skill which we want to ensure our children have.

“As the summer holidays approach, we want to make sure they – and their parents or carers – are aware of the dangers in and around the water so they can have fun safely.”

We have also joined forces with Durham Constabulary, County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service and other partners to form the ‘Open Water Safety Group’ to raise awareness of the dangers and promote water safety.

The group urges people to follow the water safety advice below:

  • Never let your children go near water, without being accompanied by an adult. An adult can point out dangers or help if someone gets into trouble.
  • Never jump in or suddenly immerse yourself in cold water as the shock could kill you.
  • Look out for warning signs and follow their instructions.
  • Learn how to help in an emergency - if you see someone in difficulty: Shout for help. Go to the nearest telephone, dial 999 and ask for the fire and rescue service.

Remember 999 calls on mobiles will find any network signal, even if your own network isn’t covered.

Download the ‘what3words’ app on your phone – this gives emergency services your exact location, even if you are in a remote spot, and will help them reach you more quickly. Do it now before you forget.

The multi-agency group aims to build on existing work and develop a water safety strategy for the borough to ensure consistent guidance for the safe management of activities in, on or around water in support of the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF) strategy that aims to reduce the number of drowning fatalities.

More information and useful tips on water safety can be found on the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) website at www.rlss.org.uk

 

Photo caption:  Sarah-Jayne Sams, swim teacher and trainer assessor for lifeguards at the Dolphin Centre, delivering one of the water safety sessions at St Teresa’s RC Primary School

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