Throw lines have been installed at some of Northamptonshire’s nature hotspots to offer greater protection for those who find themselves struggling in the water.
The throw lines have been put in place with fixed boards which offer instructions to members of the public on how they can use them to rescue people from the water.
The five boards have been installed by Northamptonshire Fire & Rescue Service in partnership with the Canal & River Trust, and have been funded through the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner and the Northamptonshire Fire & Rescue fire grant.
Four of the boards are already fully operational at Stoke Bruerne canal near Blisworth Tunnel; and the reservoirs at Welford, Sulby and Naseby. The final board will soon be erected at Boddington Reservoir.
Stephen Mold, the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Northamptonshire, said: “There are some beautiful reservoirs in our county, and we want to ensure that our residents can enjoy them while they are out and about. This was a really great initiative and I was more than happy to make the funds available so that it could happen.”
And Adrian Lole, area operations manager for the Canal & River Trust, added: “Our waterways are beautiful at this time of year and will provide an important escape for people as the weather improves and coronavirus restrictions are eased.
“We’ve been really pleased to work with Northamptonshire Fire & Rescue Service. The new throw lines will be a valuable addition at some of our most popular sites but, more importantly, we’d ask people to please stay alert and take care by the water so that everyone can go home safe and dry at the end of the day.”
A further five throw line boards will be installed in the Daventry area over the coming months through the Operation Unite project – which involves the police, fire and local authorities. The throw lines will be installed as a response to the tragic death of a 37-year-old man at Drayton Reservoir in October 2020.
As the weather gets warmer, more people may be heading to the water, but this does not mean that risk levels lower.
Darren Carson, prevention team leader at Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Water can still be very cold even on a nice hot day, so people should remain cautious.
“When you are out walking and are near open water, we would urge people to stay away from the edges of the banks. People should try and stick to designated paths and be mindful of unstable or slippery ground. Almost half of the people who end up struggling had no intention of being in the water in the first place.”
Should you encounter any problems in the water, remember to float to live. Call for help, then try and form a star shape on your back and allow the cold water shock to pass after a few minutes, you might then be able to swim.
If you see someone struggling in the water, do not enter the water yourself to attempt a rescue as you may end up in trouble yourself. Follow the instructions on a nearby throw line or call 999 and ask for the fire service.
Download the what3words app on your mobile to give emergency services the most precise location, and for more water safety tips please visit www.northantsfire.gov.uk