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Make sure river water isn’t your last drink, say Bath firefighters

Avon Fire & Rescue Service is highlighting the dangers of drinking alcohol near the water in a bid to ensure revellers in Bath stay safe this summer.

“Make sure river water isn’t your last drink” is the stark message to those out enjoying the sunshine in the run up to the August Bank Holiday weekend. The warning comes in response to the growing number of rescues from water AF&RS attends in the city each year, many of them alcohol related.

Firefighters trained in water rescue at Bath Fire Station attend on average one water related incident every month. Crews were also involved in searches for the student James Bubear who was tragically found dead in the River Avon following a night out in Bath.

Group Manager Denis McCann from Avon Fire & Rescue Service said: “We’re realistic and understand that in the warm weather people will want to be out by the water, possibly drinking alcohol – all we ask is people enjoy themselves safely.

“Rivers, canals and open water can present a real danger if you’ve had a drink. The water can be extremely cold and added to the alcohol can dramatically affect the reactions of even he strongest swimmer.

“We’re urging visitors to and residents of Bath to think carefully about how you are getting home at the end of the night. If your walk home takes you past water could you think about an alternative route, getting a taxi, drinking less alcohol or having a glass of water between each drink to help you keep your wits about you?”

The campaign is being supported by Bath & North East Somerset Council, Bath and North East Somerset NHS, Bath Pubwatch and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).

Peter Cornall, Head of leisure safety at the RoSPA, said: “Trips and slips near the waterside cause a large number of drownings in the UK each year.

“We would encourage people to think about the risks and to plan their route home following a night out - which is exactly what this initiative seeks to do.  

“Anybody faced with an emergency situation should call 999 first. Anyone attempting to help, should try to do so without putting their own life at risk.”

To promote the campaign Avon Fire & Rescue Service has teamed up with Abbey Taxis in a competition to win a journey home in at the end of the night.

For a chance to win, answer the following question: You can help to keep yourself safe on a night our by: A) Planning a route home before you go out, B) Drinking tap or bottled water between alcoholic drinks, C) Both of the answers above.

Text WATER followed by your answer (A, B or C) along with your name to 60777 to be entered into the draw.

Texts are charged at your normal network rate. Prize draw closes on Monday 12 September 2011.

For full terms, conditions and information about the campaign visit www.avonfire.gov.uk

Firefighters from Blue Watch at Bath Fire Station will be carrying out a mock rescue close to The Boater pub at 6pm on Thursday 11th August.

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