Firefighters will teach staff in bars and restaurants lifesaving gestures

Firefighters will teach staff in Northamptonshire bars and restaurants life-saving water rescue skills as part of a new campaign.

The Northamptonshire Fire & Rescue Service, in partnership with the charity Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), will soon deploy the ‘Waterside Responder’

It has proven successful in other parts of the UK and will now come to our county.

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The program will see fire crews voluntarily engage with businesses near water and equip them with the basic knowledge that would help them respond effectively to a person in the water.

It would also see establishments such as bars and restaurants given free kits such as a throwing rope to help anyone struggling in the water.

Firefighters have recently received training from the RNLI which they will now pass on to interested local establishments.

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Darren Carson, prevention team leader at NFRS, said, “It’s a vital skill to learn.

“A lot of pubs on the water could be in a rural and remote area for our crews, so just giving establishments those skills to help someone in the water will save them time and increase their chances of survival.”

Si Bristow, Head of Water Safety Education for the North and East at the RNLI, recently visited Raunds Fire Station to deliver the training session to representatives from various teams.

The Waterside Responder program has been tested in other parts of the UK

The crews also included specialist water rescue units based at Mereway and Wellingborough.

Si said: “It was a fantastic day with the Northamptonshire crews and we presented an overview of the training program in terms of the information they would give to participants in the community.

“They looked at prevention and response, how to take care of themselves from a wellness perspective, and how to strike up a conversation with someone they think might be in trouble.

“Crews have a good experience within their communities, and they will now deploy it to establishments around open water in Northamptonshire.”

The scheme was initially piloted in the Tyne and Wear area, where five potential drowning victims were rescued between 2018 and 2020 following training provided by firefighters.

To express your interest in your bar, restaurant or business receiving Waterside Responder training, email Darren Carson at [email protected]

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