Safety experts warn young people of water dangers in heatwave during pop-up event

Young people should not jump from bridges into the Thames despite the heat, according to water safety experts.

Richmond Council, alongside the Teddington lifeboat water safety team and London Fire Brigade, hosted a pop-up event on 25 July at Teddington Lock.

The aim was to educate young about the dangers of swimming in the Thames with a second heatwave due this week.

The event coincided with the World Health Organisation’s World Drowning Prevention Day and the hosts issued a warning: “Jumping off a bridge into the River Thames can cause death.”

Councillor Gareth Roberts, leader of Richmond Council, said: “Teddington Lock is a hotspot area for reckless behaviour on summer days.

“We know the water is appealing but it’s just not worth the risk.”

This message comes after 277 people accidentally drowned last year in the UK, 63 in July alone.

The Teddington Lifeboat Station crew explained the water safety initiative ‘Float To Live’, with five key pointers for someone in difficulty in water.

The Chiswick RNLI said: “If you do see someone in trouble in London or around the Thames, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

“Throw something that floats to the casualty and encourage them to float on their back until help arrives.”

Warnings such as severe spinal injury and cold water shock have been issued by the RNLI in the last year, with this week’s second heatwave expected to increase people’s tendency to take a dip in the Thames.

Matt Allchurch, lifeboat operations manager at Teddington Lifeboat Station said: “Every year young people drown in the Thames unnecessarily including good swimmers.

“The river is dangerous and, as we have tragically seen, it can kill.”

Featured image credit: Teddington RNLI and Gianna Saccomani

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