Waterside Responder scheme comes to Northamptonshire

Lifeboats News Release

Firefighters in Northamptonshire will soon be able to help teach bar and restaurant staff life-saving skills which could save the life of someone in difficulty in the water.

Northamptonshire Firefighters complete their training

RNLI/Darren Carson

Northamptonshire Firefighters complete their training

Northamptonshire Fire & Rescue Service, in partnership with the charity the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), will soon be rolling out the ‘Waterside Responder’ scheme that has proved a success in other areas of the country.

The scheme will see fire crews voluntarily engage with businesses near water and equip them with basic knowledge that would help them effectively respond to a person in the water prior to the arrival of firefighters. It would also see establishments such as bars and restaurants receive free kit such as a throw line to help assist anyone in difficulty in the water.

Firefighters recently received training from the RNLI that they will now pass on to interested waterside establishments.

Darren Carson, Prevention Team Leader at NFRS, said: “It’s a vital skill to learn. A lot of pubs on water could be in a rural location and far away for our crews to get to, so just giving establishments these skills to help somebody in the water will buy them some time and increase their chances of survival.”

Si Bristow, Water Safety Education Manager for the North and East at the RNLI, visited Raunds Fire Station recently to deliver the training session to representatives of various crews in Northamptonshire, including the specialist water rescue units based at Mereway and Wellingborough.

Si said: “It’s been a fantastic day with the crews from Northamptonshire and we’ve delivered an overview of the training package in terms of the information that they would give to participants in the community. They’ve been looking at prevention and response, how to look after themselves from a welfare perspective and how to initiate a conversation with someone who they think may be in trouble.

“The crews do have good experience within their communities, and they will now go and roll this out to establishments around the open water in Northamptonshire.”

The scheme was originally trialled in the Tyne and Wear area, where five potential drowning victims were rescued between 2018 and 2020 as a result of the training delivered by firefighters.

To express an interest in your bar, restaurant or business receiving Waterside Responder training, please email Darren Carson on DCarson@northantsfire.gov.uk

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 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and 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.

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