Keeping pupils safe

19 July 2022

I am writing on behalf of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) to ask for your help during this unprecedented heatwave to ensure the safety of your pupils and to help keep your school buildings safe. We recognise that this is a busy time for schools as you approach the end of term and try and adjust and adapt to an unprecedented heatwave.

Over the weekend a 16 year old died in water at Salford Quays and we think that you and your colleagues can play an invaluable part in helping us get water safety messages to children and young people. I am asking you to consider sharing the information about water safety below with your school community whether through assemblies, class discussions or by including them in your end of term messages to parents and carers.

I have also enclosed some information about making sure the school is safe from a fire safety perspective which I hope you will find useful.

 

Keeping pupils safe

Water Safety Information

We know that hot weather creates a temptation for children to want to cool down in water and we have been sharing water safety messages over the last week. However, we need your help to engage a wider group of children and young people along with their parents and carers.

Unfortunately despite all the work that GMFRS and our partners put into sharing water safety messaging whenever there is a warm spell some young people still head for open water. Over the weekend there have been a number of incidents with young people getting into difficulty and needing rescuing from open. You may have seen in the media reports of a 16 year old who tragically drowned at Salford Quays on Saturday. This occurred just a few hours after Firefighters had rescued a 15 year old who was struggling in the water in a different area of the quays and was spotted by Firefighters as they along with partners were walking around the area providing water safety advice.

We are asking all schools across Greater Manchester to promote some of our water safety messaging to your pupils  – the most simple message is “Cold Water Shock Can Kill” and information about the campaign including videos of people who have lost their loved ones to drowning can be found here Water Safety.

For younger pupils aged 5-8 there is an online Water Safety Game which can be found here Water Safety Story

You may also want to share the attached video which was filmed yesterday following the fatal drowning with parents and carers.

Hydrants and antisocial behaviour

In some areas we have in the past had problems with children damaging fire hydrants to create what they see as a ‘water fountain’. This is not only dangerous but illegal and puts the local community at risk as well as Firefighters. Whilst we don’t want to give young people any ideas it would be helpful if you could explain how important hydrants are for Firefighters.

Fire hydrants are there to provide water to firefighters when they need them which can be at any time of the day or night. We can’t put fires out without water which places the public and our firefighters in more danger as it will take longer for us to find water from another place before we can start putting a fire out.

Letting water out of a hydrant also takes it away from peoples homes and local businesses  -in the hot weather it is important that everyone in the community can access running water to drink.

Anyone who tampers with a hydrant is breaking the law.

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