The potentially life-saving rescue devices – three at Daventry Country Park and two at Drayton Reservoir – have been put in place thanks to Operation Unite, a multi-agency partnership which aims to improve community safety in the Daventry area.
New signage warning people of the dangers of entering the water has also been installed as part of the Operation’s water safety initiative, which was developed in response to the death of a man at Drayton Reservoir in October last year.
And an event at Daventry Country Park recently gave representatives from some of the partner agencies an opportunity to undertake some basic water safety training and practice using the throw line.
Councillor David Smith Cabinet Member for Community Safety & Engagement on West Northamptonshire Council, said: “The tragic incident last year was a reminder to everyone of the dangers of open water, but the response to it has been a really good example of partnership working and it’s really positive to see this new, potentially life-saving equipment, installed here.
“I want to remind people that, however tempting it may be on a warm summer’s day, people should not enter the water at these reservoirs unless it is as part of a properly organised activity. However every second is vital if we are to prevent people from drowning, so this equipment will provide immediate support for anyone who may end up in the water by accident.”
The new throw lines are securely fixed to boards that offer instructions on how to access them to rescue people from the water.
Funding for them has come from money raised during Operation Unite’s emergency services open days, as well as from West Northamptonshire Council and the Canal & River Trust, which manages the reservoirs.
Operation Unite is a partnership of West Northamptonshire Council, Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service, Northamptonshire Police and Daventry Town Council.
Chief Fire Officer for Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue, Darren Dovey, said: “We are delighted to be involved in this partnership and be able to provide practical solutions, such as these throwlines, to help keep the people of the county safe.
“It’s important that we all enjoy the outdoor space we have across Northamptonshire, but to enjoy if safely. The more people that know how to use the throwlines and what to do in the event of a water emergency at Daventry Country Park or Drayton Reservoir, the more chance there is of saving lives.”
People who encounter any problems in the water are also urged to follow the ‘float to live’ advice by calling for help, trying to form a star shape on their back, and allowing the cold water shock to pass.
Anyone who sees someone struggling in the water is advised not to enter the water to attempt a rescue. Follow the instructions on the throw line or call 999 and ask for the fire service.
People are also urged to download what3words app for their mobile phone so they can give emergency services a precise location. For more water safety tips, visit www.northantsfire.gov.uk
Those wishing to make safe use of the reservoir at Daventry Country Park this summer are invited to join open water sessions which take place every Sunday. Permits for non-powered water sports such as kayaking or paddle boarding are also available. For more information visit www.westnorthants.gov.uk/health-leisure-and-parks/local-parks