York Water Safety Forum Outcomes

Published 29th Apr 2019

The York Water Safety Forum is saddened by the five water related deaths in the last few weeks and wishes to pass on their condolences to the families affected. 

Forum members include North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, North Yorkshire Police, Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, City of York Council, water safety experts from the Canal and Rivers Trust, the River Rescue Boat and both universities. There was also attendance today from the MOD, RNLI and RLSS

The group are committed to working together to deliver further measures to make the rivers in York as safe as possible.

At the group’s meeting this morning, available information around each of the recent deaths was reviewed along with considerations if or how they could have been prevented. However, it isn’t always possible to identify where someone has entered the river which can make it more difficult for prevention measures to be introduced.

Some of the key work being undertaken by the group is set out below:

  • The Water Safety Forum will oversee a review of the safety measures in York against the recently published Managing Safety at Inland Waters. This was agreed following the ROSPA review in 2014 
  • An initiative to deliver the Waterside Community Responder Guidance programme,  developed by the RNLI, to riverside businesses has been agreed and will be progressed.
  • Both Universities in the City have arranged to hold educational events in the next couple of months which will be supported by various partners from the group.

This week is also the National Fire Chief Council’s Drowning Prevention Week and as such the group would like to remind people of these top tips:

  • If you are going for a walk or run near water stick to proper pathways and stay clear of the water’s edge
  • Make sure conditions are safe, avoid walking or running near water in the dark, slippery or in bad weather
  • If you’ve had alcohol don’t enter the water, avoid walking alone and avoid routes near water
  • Never enter the water to try and help a person or animal – always call 999 and use water rescue equipment if it is available
  • If you are spending time near water – whether at home or abroad make sure you are familiar with local safety information and children are fully supervised
  • If you do fall into the water, try to float on your back. You can find out more about this on the Respect The Water website https://www.respectthewater.com