The RNLI urges people to stay safe ahead of Storm Hannah
The RNLI is urging people to stay safe at the coast over the coming days as severe weather brought in by Storm Hannah could make our seas particularly dangerous and unpredictable, with large waves and swells being a major risk.
The charity is advising people to stay away from the water during the storms, give waves a wide berth, and be aware that unexpected big waves can easily catch people out. The worst of the weather will sweep across Ireland and move on to the South West of England and Wales with gusts reaching up to 70mph, according to the Met Office.
Community Safety Partner for the RNLI Guy Addington says:
‘Storm Hannah is heading our way and is could bring dangerous sea conditions. We are repeating our advice to people tempted to watch the stormy conditions unfold to “stay back, stay high and stay dry!”’
Every year, around 190 people lose their lives around the coast of Britain and Ireland. Over half of those who die didn’t plan to enter the water, with slips, trips and falls being a major factor.
Guy adds: ‘People need to be aware that parts of our coastline will be treacherous from Friday evening, overnight and into Saturday. The large swell will mean that areas normally accessible at low tide may be cut off by storm surges. Sea walls and harbour areas may become inundated with surface flooding and large waves.’
If you see someone else in danger in the water, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard. If you have something that floats or that they can hold on to, throw it to them. Don’t go in the water yourself – too many people drown trying to save others.
The charity is advising that if you find yourself in the water unexpectedly, to relax and float on your back to catch your breath and try to grab hold of something to keep you afloat. The initial shock of being in cold water can cause you to gasp and panic but these initial effects pass in less than a minute, so don’t try to swim straight away. Keep calm and catch your breath, then call for help, or swim for safety if you’re able to.
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.