Take care when walking or running near water this winter

04 January 2018
A person walking on the bank of a stream with the hashtag runners and walkers beneath

​Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) is backing a national campaign to raise awareness among runners and walkers about the risk of accidental drowning when exercising near water.

Drowning prevention charity the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) wants to highlight the fact that runners and walkers have the highest incidence of accidental drowning and is urging people to be extra careful around water.

Between 2012 and 2016, 300 people in the UK drowned while running or walking by water, an average of 60 lives lost per year. A further 35 people per year drowned while walking home intoxicated.

Tina Collett, of the NFRS Prevention and Community Protection team, says: “Paths by rivers, canals and open water are great for exploring the countryside and keeping active, but the risks involved mean you need to take care when exercising near water.

“We’re supporting the RLSS UK Runners and Walkers campaign to help keep people in Northamptonshire safe and help prevent accidental drownings in 2018 and beyond.”

Staying safe near water

RLSS UK advice for runners and walkers includes staying well clear of banks and edges when near water. In icy or flood conditions, stay away from waterways and open water completely.

Walkers are recommended to carry a rope rescue bag, and anyone venturing out is also advised to strap a whistle to their wrist or clothing to allow them to attract attention in an emergency.

In an emergency situation where someone has ended up in the water, call 999 for help and throw a rescue line from a safe place, but don’t put yourself at risk of falling in.

Top five open water safety tips from RLSS UK:

  • Be aware of your surroundings and take notice of any warning signs when out and about.
  • When running or walking next to open water, stay well clear of bank edges. They are often unstable and this can create slips, trips and falls.
  • Try to always walk or run with a friend.
  • Always let someone know where you’re going – take your mobile phone.
  • Learn swimming and lifesaving skills.
More water safety advice from RLSS UK

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