The fire service have launched a new campaign for Drowning Prevention Week, highlighting the risk of accidental drowning by swimming in open water.

The week long campaign, called Be Water Aware, runs from April 29 until May 5 and focuses on runners and walkers, people on a night out and local hotspots.

Research carried out by the National Fire Chief’s Council’s (NFCC) showed that in 2017 half of accidental drownings happened when people didn’t even intend to go into the water, for example, when running, walking or cycling.

Group Manager Mark Hutton, from Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service said: "Activities such as walking your dog or running along a canal can put people at risk of drowning and we hope that our work during ‘drowning prevention week’ will highlight these risks to people."

Fire chiefs are also advising parents to discuss with their children the dangers of cold shock and the risks associated with swimming in reservoirs or lakes, especially in the summer months when the water can look warm but is actually still cold.

One risk that children and young people are unaware of is that jumping into cold water can bring on cold shock, resulting in breathing difficulties and muscle cramps which can cause heart attacks.

Basic water safety information from fire service includes:

• If someone falls into water call 999. Advise the casualty to try and float on their back and relax. Try and shout for help nearby and throw them something to either drag them to safety or to aid them to float

• Ensure children are fully supervised near water on holiday

• Do not enter the water if you have been drinking or taking drugs

• If you are going running alone try and tell someone where you are going

• Never enter the water yourself to try and save someone