Categories: Safety

NFCC launches water incident dashboard for Fire and Rescue Services


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The National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) has launched a new water incident dashboard to help Fire and Rescue Services (FRS) gather information on incidents in their area.

It uses live data from the Water Incident Database (WAID) which records vital information from agencies such as the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).

The dashboard was developed through the NFCC Data Portal and Digital and Data Programme in partnership with WAID. NFCC’s Water Safety Group worked with the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF) to develop the brand new resource.

Aimed at analysts, performance managers, prevention practitioners, community safety managers, water safety advocates and communication professionals, this new tool helps FRSs refine searches and use information tailored to their area.

It also drills down and provides information such as area, risk and days of the week, with the aim that this valuable information can be used help reduce incidents and drownings.

This means FRSs will have access to better data to gain more understanding of local risks – which can then be used to further develop development prevention, education and communication strategies.

An estimated 235,600 people drown every year worldwide. It is among the ten leading causes of death for children aged 5-14 years. More than 90% of drowning deaths occur in rivers, lakes, wells, domestic water storage vessels and swimming pools in low and middle-income countries, with children and adolescents in rural areas disproportionately affected. In the UK 2020 has seen an increase of accidental drownings with 254 people dying. Progress has already been made in drowning prevention through work with the National Water Safety Forum, Water Safety Scotland and Water Safety Wales. The UK has a drowning prevention strategy which aims to reduce accidental drowning fatalities as well as contributing to the reduction of water-based suicide.

NFCC – along with its partners – is committed to reducing drownings in the UK. This dashboard provides valuable data and information to assist FRSs to understand risk better and develop their prevention and education strategies.

Dawn Whittaker, NFCC’s Water Prevention Lead and Vice Chair of NFCC’s Prevention Committee commented:

“I am delighted to see the launch of this database which will provide detailed, local and national data for FRSs across the UK, giving real time insights into water safety incidents and drowning.

“Every year in the UK we see so many people lose their lives to drowning which could – and should – be prevented. This tool will allow FRSs to interrogate risks, peak times for incidents and plan accordingly.

“In 2019, 233 people accidentally drowned in the UK, with 44 per cent of these people having no intention to enter the water. We need to see these figures drastically reduce; work such as this could have a positive impact on how we plan our prevention activities.

“I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in this; from NFCC’s Water Safety Group and NFCC’s Data Portal Team, RoSPA and WAID for helping to deliver this vital piece of work.”

And Steve Holton, Data Lead for NFCC Water Safety Executive Group, said:

“This new dashboard is a culmination of a number of months of work with our partners. By having this easy-to-access and real time data, it will undoubtedly be an invaluable tool for all.

“It will help shape education and prevention agendas through evidence driven data, leading to a positive impact on what we are trying to achieve; ensuring people are ‘water aware’ and working towards our aim of reducing incidents and ultimately preventable loss of life.”

NFCC helped to develop the UK’s Drowning Prevention Strategy and works as an active member of the NWSF, as well as running its annual ‘Be Water Aware’ campaign.  

World Drowning Prevention Day – held annually on July 25th – was declared through the April 2021 UN General Assembly resolution A/75/L.76 “Global drowning prevention” and coordinated through the World Health Organisation.

It as an opportunity to highlight the tragic and profound impact of drowning on families and communities and offer life-saving solutions to prevent it.

Everyone involved – from governments, UN agencies, civil society organizations, the private sector, academia and individuals – are all invited to mark World Drowning Prevention Day by highlighting the need for urgent, coordinated and multi-sectoral action on proven measures such as:   

  • Installing barriers controlling access to water
  • Providing safe places away from water such as crèches for pre-school children with capable childcare
  • Teaching swimming, water safety and safe rescue skills
  • Training bystanders in safe rescue and resuscitation
  • Setting and enforcing safe boating, shipping and ferry regulations
  • Improving flood risk management

NFCC welcomes this UN resolution passed which creates global recognition and awareness of drowning as an avoidable epidemic, which also offers the chance to highlight the numbers – national and globally – lost to these preventable deaths. 

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