With the FIFA World Cup Tournament and people starting to attend Christmas parties, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) is urging people to be careful when they are out at night.
The warning comes as the Royal Life Saving Society promote their national Don’t Drink and Drown campaign, which encourages people to make smart decisions when around water and under the influence of alcohol.
The campaign urges people to think about their friends, and to help them return home safely if they have had too much to drink. This year the campaign has been extended to cover the World Cup, and runs from November 21 to December 18.
Area manager Scott Donegan said: “We want people to be able to enjoy this time of year, it is exciting for people to go out and support their favourite team, while making the most of the Christmas celebrations.
“However, we urge everyone to be careful when they’ve had a drink and are near water. Accidents can easily happen and, at this time of year, the water is very cold. If everyone can make sure they get home safely after a night out, and ensure friends and family aren’t walking home near water, then we can help limit the number of unnecessary accidents.”
According to figures, on average 80 people lose their lives each year through a substance-related drowning. Put in context, this is almost a third (32%) of UK annual accidental drownings. Also, research shows that among 16-25-year-olds who lost their lives to accidental drowning, 45% had alcohol and/or drugs in their bloodstream.
Lee Heard, charity director at the Royal Life Saving Society, said: “For our winter Don’t Drink and Drown campaign for 2022, we want to reach not only those who are out celebrating with friends and family over the holiday season, but also those who might be out supporting their team at this year’s world cup.
“This is the first time that the world cup will have been held during our winter time, so it will be a completely different experience to what we have been used to in previous tournaments when we may have seen people in pub beer gardens, watching the games on a big screen in the summer sun.
“With this comes concerns around water safety. We want to ensure that everyone enjoys the tournament, and hopefully is able to celebrate victories for whichever team they support, but they are also able to stay safe around the various waterways on their routes home.”
For more information on being safe near water visit westyorksfire.gov.uk/safety/water-safety