Talk to young people about water safety, say firefighters on World Drowning Prevention Day  

As school holidays begin, West Yorkshire firefighters are advising parents and guardians to talk to children and young people about water safety, to try and help prevent drownings in our region.

Drowning Prevention Day

This comes as part of World Drowning Prevention Day, where the World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued a call for people around the world to “do one thing” to prevent drowning.

Drowning is one of the leading causes of death globally for children and young people aged 1-24 years, and according to the National Fire Chiefs Council, accidental drowning claimed the lives of 277 people in the UK last year – 31 more than the three-year average.

Tragically West Yorkshire has already seen two accidental drowning related deaths this month, with the figures also showing young people are most at risk.

Chris Bell, Assistant District Commander at West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said, “With continued warm weather forecast as the school holidays start, and accidental drowning figures on the rise, we want to encourage people to have the conversation, share advice and keep incidents to a minimum.”

“Accidental drownings are largely preventable, and we want people to enjoy the summer and return safe and well when term starts again in September.”

“Our #BeWaterAware page has advice and guidance and the RNLI’s short respect the water and float to live videos are great for young people. But in brief, our advice at West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is to:


  • Stick to designated swimming areas and do not be tempted to cool off in any other open water


  • If someone is in trouble in the water in West Yorkshire (or inland), dial 999 and ask for FIRE


  • If you get into trouble, float to live: extend your arms, lay back into the water, control your breathing and shout for help


  • Cold-water shock can kill even on a hot day, even for strong swimmers


  • Hidden dangers beneath in non-designated swimming areas can be fatal, even in areas you may have swum before”


West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is working in partnership with other fire and rescue services, Yorkshire Water, the Canal and River Trust and the RNLI to reduce the number of water-related incidents through a range of prevention activities.