A ‘fluming’ great way to demonstrate water safety in North Yorkshire

Published 20th Jun 2022

We all know how tempting entering the water can be on a hot summers day but do you also know about the dangers which lie beneath?

There are various factors which can affect how water behaves, both manmade and natural. Other features, including debris, such as shopping trollies, rocks and boulders can influence the strength and direction of water.

The truth is, we probably won’t know if water is unsafe, until it is too late.

Therefore, this summer North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service are working in partnership with JBA Trust, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), Yorkshire Water, Yorkshire Dales National Park and Bolton Abbey Estate to educate our communities about water safety so they can enjoy water safely.

The Water Safety Flume is a new resource which will help them do just that.

The flume is essentially a simulator which demonstrates the makeup of different bodies of water, including waterfalls, stepping stones, weirs and culverts, with the aim to make members of the public think before they enter.

Expect to see the flume touring the county and regional areas over the summer months.

We will also be visiting schools in the run up to the summer break and other educational settings throughout the summer showcasing our multi-organisational videos which accompany the flume.

North Yorkshire Prevention Manager, Adam Farrow, said: “The flume is an excellent tool to demonstrate to a variety of people the dangers open water can pose.

“We can demonstrate many different open water types, all of which can be found in various areas around North Yorkshire, including the infamous Strid at Bolton Abbey. It can be quickly switched from one set-up to another making demonstrations relevant to the area and audience we are visiting.

“The flume will be touring North Yorkshire throughout the summer to educate as many people as possible.”

Rob Lamb, Managing Director of JBA Trust, said: “Awareness of water safety is an important part of reducing risks in the water environment, so we’re delighted to have worked in partnership with North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service and Hydrotec Consultants to create the water safety demonstration flume and to support the water safety video project.”

Jemma Burgess, District Prevention Manager at West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, said, “We saw an increase in accidental drownings in our region last year and want to make sure people know how to stay safe around water.

“Nearly 50 percent of people who accidentally drowned in 2020 had no intention of entering the water. Cold water shock, the pull of flowing water and other hidden dangers can cause even the strongest swimmers to drown.

“Even on a warm day the temperature in open water can remain very cold, causing a physical reaction which can make it difficult to control breathing and make it difficult to swim. If you do find yourself in difficulty, float to live: Lean back into the water, extend your arms and control your breathing, then call and ask for help.

“If someone is in trouble in water, call 999 and importantly, ask for the fire service, as we have the specialist water rescue equipment. Never enter the water to attempt a rescue.”

This video shows the flume in action