Throw lines installed at Northamptonshire's nature hotspots to protect those struggling in the water
Five throw lines with fixed boards have been installed by the Fire Service in partnership with the Canal and River Trust
Throw lines have been installed at five of Northamptonshire's nature hotspots to offer greater protection for those who find themselves struggling in the water.
The throw lines have been erected with fixed boards that offer instructions to members of the public on how to use them to rescue people from the water.
Four of the boards are already fully operational at Stoke Bruerne canal near Blisworth Tunnel as well as the reservoirs at Welford, Naseby and Sulby. The final board will soon be installed at Boddington Reservoir.
Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Northamptonshire, Stephen Mold, 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.”
The boards were installed by the Fire and Rescue Service in partnership with the Canal and River Trust and it was funded through the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner and the Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue grant.
Area operations manager for the Canal and River Trust, Adrian Lole, 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 aims to create a safer area in and around the Daventry.
The throw lines will be installed in response to the death of a 37-year-old man at Drayton Reservoir in October 2020 after he faced difficulties in the water.Prevention team leader at Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service, Darren Carson, 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.”
The Fire Service advises that, if people should encounter any problems in the water, they must remember to float to live. They should call for help then try to form a star shape on their back and allow the cold water shock to pass after a few minutes - they may 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.
You can download the 'what3words' app on your phone to give emergency services your precise location.
For more water safety tips, visit www.northantsfire.gov.uk.