Youngsters help new group spread the word on water safety

Monday, 20 June, 2022

The recently formed East Dunbartonshire Partnership Approach to Water Safety (ED PAWS) has held its first event highlighting the work the group will be taking forward to improve water safety across the area.

Local Community Planning Partners and organisations including East Dunbartonshire Council, Scottish Fire and Rescue Scotland, Police Scotland, Scottish Ambulance Service, Water Safety Scotland, RNLI, Scottish Water, Scottish Canals, RoSPA, Open Water Rescue, HM Coastguard and others make up the partnership and today (Monday 20 June) launched an action plan – ED PAWS Agreement 2022 - which outlines the approach the group will be taking over the next year.

Water safety has been a concern nationally and locally and the new ED PAWS Agreement aligns with Scotland’s Drowning Prevention Strategy which was launched in 2018 and aims to reduce accidental drowning deaths in Scotland by 50 per cent by 2026.

The event held at Southbank Marina also included the delivery of waterside responder and CPR training, while a group of schoolchildren took part in a range of interactive activities. 

Councillor Paul Ferretti, the Council’s Convenor of Place, Neighbourhood and Corporate Assets said, “East Dunbartonshire is home to rivers, lochs, canals and reservoirs and sadly tragedies and challenging rescues have occurred in recent years. 

“By forming ED PAWS, all agencies that have a responsibility for water safety have demonstrated their commitment to strong partnership working and the sharing of information, good practices and resources - which is key to ensuring the safety of our residents and visitors.

“This co-ordinated and proactive approach will assist in the delivery of emergency response as well as educating our local communities of how dangerous water can be. It was also fantastic to see pupils from Lairdsland Primary school getting involved and learning about how to stay safe while enjoying and exploring East Dunbartonshire.”

The ED PAWS Agreement will be reviewed in May each year to tie in with the publication of annual trend reports in relation to water safety, meaning it will continually reflect current and known risks, new practices and resource allocation.

Area Commander Joe McKay is the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service's Local Senior Office for Argyll and Bute, East and West Dunbartonshire. He said: "We want families to enjoy the water but enjoy it safely this summer. We will continue to work with partners to educate the public about the very real dangers of swimming in coastal and inland waters.

"The event at Southbank Marina in Kirkintilloch allowed us to talk to young children with targeted safety messages for their age group, as well as demonstrate the use of throwlines that firefighters use to assist someone in difficulty. It's important for us all to remember that even on warm days, the water is still very cold. Cold water shock is a real risk and can affect breathing and coordination. If you do get into trouble, try to keep calm, control your breathing then lie on your back, spread out your arms and legs and float to live."

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