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Waterside pub and bar staff to be trained to save drinkers from drowning

The Waterside Community Responder programme was trialled at the Riverside complex in Norwich. Pic: Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service.

The Waterside Community Responder programme was trialled at the Riverside complex in Norwich. Pic: Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service.

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service

Staff in pubs, bars and restaurants near rivers and waterways are to get lifesaving training from firefighters - so they can rescue people from drowning.

A new waterside community responder programme has been trialled at Norwich’s Riverside.

Staff were shown how to use throwlines to get people in trouble out of the water - and the project is to be extended.

Almost half of all drownings in Norfolk between 2012 and 2016 involved alcohol and Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service has carried out risk-mapping to target training at areas where people are most likely to get into difficulties.

The fire service’s Terry Pinto said: “We will be approaching licensed premises in areas of high risk where drownings have occurred, so we can offer training to their staff on how to make lifesaving interventions if one of their patrons enters the water.

“We will work in partnership with the RNLI who will provide resources and training to our local crews and work with us to train volunteers.”

Each year, the fire service is called to rescue people from the open water.

More people drown while running or walking near water in Norfolk, than those taking part in water-based activities.

In April last year, firefighters urged people not to put their own lives at risk by jumping into the water, after two people went into the Wensum to help a woman.

Firefighters had said it was safer to try to rescue people without entering the water.

Garry Collins, head of protection and prevention at Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, said: “If you see a person or animal in difficulty, please do not jump in to help, but raise the alarm.

“Shout for help, call 999 and look around for assistance, such as throwlines, life buoys or other items that could help but avoid entering the water.”

The training for staff in pubs, bars and restaurants is being done in association with the RNLI.

RNLI community safety partner Nick Ayers said: “We are really pleased to team up with Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service on this project, which will help to keep communities safe across the Broads network and at other waterways in the county.”

A similar partnership has already saved four lives in Tyne and Wear, the first area to introduce the project.

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