Awareness the key during Drowning Prevention Week
12 June 2020
Derry City and Strabane District Council are asking citizens to be aware of the dangers of water during Drowning Prevention Week.
The campaign, which begins today, is co-ordinated by the Royal Life Saving Society and will run until next Friday, 19th June.
The aim of the RLSS campaign is to help everybody to #BeALifesaver and to ensure they enjoy the water, safely.
Across the UK and Ireland there is a spike in fatal drowning incidents during the summer months. The charity is increasingly concerned this summer as the impact of COVID-19 is far reaching and has resulted in reduced beach lifeguard services and supervised venues.
It also ties in with the message from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs asking people not to swim in disused quarries, lakes or loughs, with a series of reports recently made of such actions taking place.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Brian Tierney, said it's extremely important that people are aware of the serious dangers.
"Under current legislation our leisure centres and swimming pools are not permitted to be open, so people may instead be travelling to the beach or setting up a paddling pool at home instead.
"In those situations, there are often no lifeguards or trained staff on hand and we have to undertake the responsibility ourselves to be sensible and safe, and as parents and guardians to always keep an eye on young children.
"It's easy to forget that babies and children can drown in as little as 5cm of water, and it doesn't take much more for adults to have similar difficulties.
"I would also strongly discourage people from swimming in disused quarries, lakes or loughs, which are often much colder than other bodies of water.
"Awareness and education are highly important, and both the RLSS and DAERA have helpful information out there to keep us all alert."