Partygoers, drinkers and clubbers have been urged to avoid rivers and other bodies of water when under the influence of alcohol this Christmas. According to statistics, over a third of adults who drowned accidently in County Durham in the last three years had alcohol in their bloodstream.
With this in mind, a safety campaign has been launched for this year’s festive season entitled Don’t Drink and Drown. Don’t Drink and Drown is a national campaign coordinated by the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK). In County Durham, the campaign will be delivered by the RLSS UK in partnership with the Safe Durham Partnership.
Don’t Drink and Drown is raising awareness of the risks of water and urging sensible behaviour around it, especially after people have been drinking. The campaign is also highlighting the dangers of people walking home alone after a boozy night out.
The campaign, which will mostly be focused on Durham City and Chester-le-Street, was launched on Saturday in Durham Market Place. A Fire Service rescue boat was on display as campaigners handed out t-shirts, wristbands, bottles of water and other freebies.
Durham Sixth Form Centre and New College Durham will take part in the campaign, as will Durham’s pubs and clubs. They will be using beermats, posters and hand stamps to promote Don’t Drink and Drown.
Don’t Drink and Drown is also supported by Durham City Pubwatch and Durham University. The social media aspect of the campaign will be spearheaded by the twitter hashtag #dontdrinkanddrown.
— TheCoastguardTeam (@CoastguardTeam) December 10, 2016
Dave Orford, who is both the chair of the Safe Durham Partnership and Durham’s assistant chief constable, said, “We are not wanting to spoil the party for anyone this Christmas, but we would say to everyone: enjoy yourself but do so in a sensible fashion.”
“Our officers see first hand the devastation families suffer when losing a loved one through drowning.”
“Please don’t make your loved ones have to live without you.”
“Our advice is simple. Please don’t be tempted into the water.”
“Avoid walking home near rivers if at all possible and encourage your mates to do the same thing.”
Andy Hughes, chair of Durham City Pubwatch, said, “Durham City licensees are all more than happy to get involved in this campaign, as we are constantly striving to make our city centre as enjoyable and safe an experience as possible.”
“We don’t want anyone to end their night out with us in a bad way.”
The Safe Durham Partnership includes Durham County Council, Durham Constabulary, County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, and a number of other partners. The Safe Durham Partnership was this summer involved in Dying to be Cool, a campaign to stop people plunging into rivers in order to cool off.