King’s Lynn bar staff trained to become river rescuers
- Credit: Archant
My name's Paul and I'm going to save you. When I throw the rope, I want you to turn onto your back and put it over your shoulder.
Bar staff swapped pulling pints for pulling casualties out of the river during a special safety exercise.
They learned to throw ropes to rescue people from the water under the eyes of Norfolk Fire Service and the RNLI.
Around a dozen staff from the Bank House Hotel in King's Lynn took part in the session, which emergency workers hope to roll out to other venues in Lynn, Norwich and the Broads.
Before they set out for the river Nick Ayers, the RNLI's community safety partner, told them around 400 people drown accidentally each year in the UK.
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Around half off them have alcohol in their system, while a similar number did not intend going into the water.
'They're people just going about their daily lives,' he said. 'Going for a walk along a river, along a canal, along the coastline.'
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The RNLI believes many of those who drown could be saved if they could be reached in time.
People working in waterside bars are being recruited as community first responders.
Mr Ayers said similar training on Tyne and Wear had led to four lives being saved.
Staff were taught to throw the 20m ropes accurately on the quayside during a dry run by Mr Ayers and firefighters, who also stressed the importance of the rescuer's own safety and a prompt call to the emergency services.
Then it was time to rescue three firefighters who took to the tea-coloured River Ouse, which was ebbing swiftly.
All were reached by the throwing lines as they bobbed downstream on the brisk current.
Paul Turner, assistant manager at the Bank House, said: 'It's building our confidence, so that should something like this happen, we know what we've got to do.
'An awareness of what's going on out here is really helpful.'