The warm weather over the bank Holiday weekend may have many of us taking to pools and sea sides as the first real weekend of good weather landed.
The welcome spell of sunshine also coincided with the timely launch of the BSafe Water Safety campaign. The Meath Chronicle is delighted to spearhead this life-saving initiative in association with sponsors Generali Pan Europe and Meath County Council.
It is the third in a prolonged safety awareness campaign started last September and aimed at school children and their families. The first strands focused on Road and Cycle Safety. Each element has included varied activities that will engage pupils of both national and secondary schools and this one will be no different.
Irish people have a natural love affair with the water and swimming is one of the most enjoyable leisure activities there is while it is also an excellent form of exercise. However the need to be constantly vigilant when using waterways is vital and BSafe will play its role in promoting that message.
The launch of the BSafe Water safety campaign was held in Aura LeisureLink, Navan and attended by representatives of Meath Chronicle and Celtic Media Group, Generali, Meath County Council and Meath River Rescue Mary McGuigan, Group Business Manager of Celtic Media paid tribute the great work of Meath River Rescue and said their work highlighted just how vigilant and safety conscious people needed to be around our waterways. She also paid tribute to Generali Pan Europe and Meath county Council for their continued support of the BSafe initiatives.
WARM WEATHER MOOD INCREASES DROWNING RISK
Irish Water Safety has issued this advice to minimize the risk of drowning when warm weather comes our way tempting many people to swim in open waters - some for the first time. If you are going to venture near the water here is some important advice.
1. Swim at lifeguarded waterways listed at www.iws.ie/bathing-areas
2. If not lifeguarded, then swim with others, never alone, at recognised, traditionally safe bathing areas.
3. Swim within your depth, parallel and close to shore.
4. Supervise children at all times as drownings can bringing water safety to the surface
5. Never use inflatable toys in open water or swim out after anything drifting.
6. Never swim in the dark or late at night or jump into water from heights.
7. Rivers can be dangerous due to currents, hidden hazards and colder water under the surface that can result in hypothermia. 62 per cent of drownings occur inland with 80 per cent of drownings occurring close to the victim's home.
8. Train for your aquatic activity at www.safetyzone.ie
9. Alcohol impairs judgment, balance and coordination – all essential for swimming and boating and avoiding hazards in the water. Almost 30 per cent of drowned victims had consumed alcohol.
10. Wear a Lifejacket when on the water and make sure that it has a correctly fitting crotch strap.
11. In Marine Emergencies, call 112 and ask for the coastguard.
As we approach National Water Safety Awareness Week commencing on Monday, we appeal to the public to inform themselves of the dangers and so reduce the chance of drowning tragedies that average five per fortnight – get more advice at www.iws.ie