Revellers urged to take care near water

GREATER Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) is continuing its mission to keep people safe around water running up to Christmas.

Firefighters have delivered water safety training to managers and landlords of bars close to waterways as part of its plan to educate more people about water safety and prevent drowning incidents, particularly in Manchester city-centre.

Training has taken place around Deansgate Locks jointly delivered by GMFRS and Royal Life Saving Society UK, with support from CityCo and Greater Manchester Police.

The prevention work supports that carried out across the UK by organisations and charities, such as the Royal Life Saving Society UK – which is running its latest Don’t Drink and Drown Campaign from Monday, December 2 until Sunday, December 8.

The main messages of this year’s campaign are for people not to walk home near open water – such as the canals that run through Manchester city-centre – and to stay with their friends after they have been drinking.

Area Manager Damian O’Rourke from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service said: “We are pleased to be supporting the latest Don’t Drink and Drown campaign and want to take the opportunity to remind people – especially those out drinking in the run up to Christmas – to take extra care around water.

“Our firefighters are trained in water rescue but sometimes it just isn’t possible to get to people in time to save them. We have sadly seen too many people drown in Greater Manchester, with many incidents happening in the canals in the city-centre.

“If you are out enjoying drinks with your friends please never walk along the canals alone and always try and plan your journey home at the start of your night out. It’s also really important to stay together, and if a friend has had one too many then do the right thing and help them to get home safe.”

Following the death of 19-year-old Charlie Pope in March 2018 in Manchester, his father, Nick Pope, has been working closely with the Manchester Water Safety Partnership. Earlier this year barriers were installed along the stretch of canal where Charlie drowned, with the fencing now directing people to cross the canal using an existing footbridge.

Nick attended a student safety event in Manchester on the evening of Thursday, November 28, 2019, organised and led by Greater Manchester’s Night Time Economy Adviser Sacha Lord and attended by the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham.

Sacha Lord, Night Time Economy Adviser for Greater Manchester, said: “For the first time all four universities came together to discuss safety for students with a view to creating a Student Safety Charter – which will launch initially at the four Universities across our city-region, with the view to spread it further amongst colleges and other forms of higher education.”

Nick Pope said: “It was a really worthwhile event, which was such a success due to the large attendance, great engagement and searching questions. This can only result in better safety for the students and citizens of Manchester.”

Over the last five years there have been 1,481 accidental deaths in the UK and more than 30 per cent of the victims were found to have alcohol and/or drugs in their bloodstream.

The Don’t Drink and Drown campaign gives essential advice to party-goers to make sure they know how to stay safe when they’re out celebrating.

Follow activity running on social media #DontDrinkAndDrown