Water safety


Bristol Bears and Bath Rugby have put their local rivalry aside to support Avon Fire & Rescue Service’s (AF&RS) new water rescue campaign - #MatesMatter.

Friendship groups can be compliant with dangerous risk taking behaviour – even though they don’t know it.  Look out for each other day to day, particularly on a night out

A combination of research and experience suggests that many of those who need our help have been drinking alcohol.  During the warm weather particularly, people may be out by the water, drinking alcohol.

All we ask is that you think about this brief advice to ensure you can enjoy yourself in safety. 

  • Buddy up on a night out and make sure all your mates get home safely.
  • Look after each other when you are enjoying the outdoors in warmer weather
  • Even the strongest swimmers can drown.
  • Rivers, canals and open water can present a real danger if you’ve had a drink. The water can be extremely cold, and added to the effects of alcohol, can dramatically affect the reactions of even the strongest swimmer.

Stay safe around water


Float to live

What to do if you fall in the water - Float to live - RNLI

Everyone who falls unexpectedly into cold water wants to follow the same instinct, to swim hard and to fight the cold water. But when people fight it, chances are, they lose. Fight the instinct to panic or swim.

Lie back and keep your airways clear, push your stomach up and extend your limbs moving hands and feet to help you float.

Try to take and control the effects of cold water shock such as the gasping reflex. Once your breathing is controlled call for help and if possible try making your way towards safety.

If you find yourself unexpectedly in the water, do as little as possible, and float.

What to do if someone falls into deep water

  • Call 999 or 112 - straightaway. If you don't have a phone shout for help - you may have to look for help but do not enter the water.
  • If you are near the coast ask for the coastguard, if you are inland ask for fire service and ambulance.
  • The emergency services will need as much information as possible to pinpoint where you are, look for landmarks, signs on bridges or use your mobile phones location app or map to help
  • Don’t hang up – stay on the line but try and continue to try to help the person if appropriate.
  • Encourage them to try and float on their back - if there is rescue equipment nearby throw it to them.
  • When you have made the call shout for help from anyone who might be close by.
  • Human nature says you are likely to want to attempt to help while rescue services are on their way. Never enter the water to try and save someone. This usually ends up adding to the problem.  If you go into the water you are likely to suffer from cold water shock which will leave you unable to help even if you are a strong swimmer.

What to do if somebody is in trouble

  • Think, do not put yourself in danger. Do not enter the water or jump in
  • Shout for help, ring 999 and request the Fire and Rescue Service
  • Reach, if it’s safe to do so, try and reach the person with a stick/pole scarf or any other object.  Crouch or lie down to avoid being pulled into the water
  • Throw designated rescue equipment or rope if available to pull the person to the bank.  Otherwise throw in something that will float this will help keep the person afloat until assistance arrives.