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Warning to Stay Away From Water When Drinking Alcohol

With the Christmas party season now in full swing, Swansea people are being reminded about the dangers of drinking too much alcohol close to water.

The on-going Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS) 'Don't Drink and Drown' campaign is being supported by Swansea Council, South Wales Police, local student organisations and other partner organisations in the city.
 
Figures reveal around 20% of all adult accidental drowning victims in the UK have alcohol in their bloodstream and research by the RLSS showed that 18 to 21-year-olds were particularly vulnerable to the risk of accidental drowning after having too much to drink.

As the campaign kicked off, Mark Thomas, Cabinet Member for Environment and Infrastructure, said: "We want residents and visitors to enjoy their Christmas nights out in Swansea, but we want them to do so safely.
 
"We are urging people to remember the dangers posed by too much alcohol if their walk home after a night out takes them alongside or close to a body of water. We're also calling on people to keep an eye out for their friends to make sure they get home safely, too."

Laurence Hickin of the RLSS, said: "People die each year after entering the water with alcohol in their bloodstream, either deliberately or completely by accident. Drinking near or in water can be a dangerous and deadly cocktail. Alcohol can seriously impede your ability to survive in water.

"When walking home from a night out, avoid routes that are alongside water, particularly in the darkness, and always stay with and look out for your friends. 
"We want everyone to have a great time this Christmas and our Don't Drink and Drown campaign gives essential advice to party-goers to make sure they know how to stay safe when they're out celebrating."

Mid and West Wales Fire Service, student organisations and South Wales Police are also supporting the RLSS campaign.

Karen Jones, Head of Community Safety at the fire service, said "Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service fully support the #DontDrinkandDrown campaign highlighting the risks of accidental drowning at this time of year. 

"We have seen the consequences when people have not heeded advice on water safety with our crews being called to attend drowning incidents far too often.   Please help us to help you and keep yourself and your friends safe this Christmas"

South Wales Police Officer, PC Nicky Billingham, said: "Swansea is a fantastic city in which to socialise and celebrate, especially over the festive period, but it is not without its dangers.

"There are large areas of water in close proximity to residential areas and the city centre which does present a hazard, particularly when people have been consuming alcohol.

"South Wales Police fully supports the Don't Drink and Drown campaign, and our Community Safety team and Police Student Volunteers have been working hard alongside partners at the water safety events to raise awareness of the dangers.

"I would urge everyone to ensure they drink responsibly and think about their surroundings when consuming alcohol in order to stay safe over the festive period."

Grace Hannaford, Welfare Officer at Swansea University Students' Union said:

"It's great to see Swansea Council and RLSS working in partnership on this campaign. Unfortunately here in Swansea we're all too aware of the dangers surrounding drinking alcohol and the risks it can contribute to getting home safely.

"This is a campaign that will have a huge impact on local residents and students alike and Swansea Union will put in every effort to support it."

Over recent months Swansea Council has been marking rescue aids with GPS co-ordinates so emergency services can locate them quickly if needed. The council is also looking at installing electronic sensors to life-saving equipment which will trigger an alarm if they are vandalised or damaged. Swansea will be one of the first councils in the UK to do this.

Water safety officers have also taken part in events at the city's two universities and Gower College Swansea to highlight the risks of going near the river after a night out in the city centre.

Some of the tips to stay safe this Christmas include don't walk home near water, look out for your friends and make sure they get home safely, and don't enter the water if you have been drinking because alcohol seriously affects your ability to get yourself out of trouble.
 
Have a look at www.rlss.org.uk for more information. You can also visit www.facebook.com/RLSSUK or follow #DontDrinkAndDrown on Twitter.

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