Last summer saw more than 30 people drown across the UK and, during the first few months of this year, vast areas were flooded putting many people at risk.

These examples highlight just some of the situations the emergency services find themselves faced with on a daily basis.

And, with Flood Emergency Response being extremely challenging in its own right, situations can become significantly more so where officers and crews are working in partnership with untrained ancillary staff.

In response to this issue, the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) is set to launch two new modules as part of its existing and recognised National Water Safety Management Programme (NWSMP) at this year’s Emergency Service Show in September – NWSMP Flood and Aquatic PPE.

Cliff Nelson, RLSS UK’s Head of Water Safety Management, said: “We know that blue light services often find themselves working alongside local government staff, utility workers and well meaning volunteers. We also know that if these personnel have not received appropriate training then they can add to the problem rather than be part of the solution.

“This is why we are adding these two new modules to our suite of water safety training with the aim of equipping people with the right training to enable them to support professionals in emergency situations, safely and effectively.”

RLSS UK research shows that foundation-level training in water hazard, risk and basic response options will significantly improve performance and minimize the likelihood of tragedy.

Cliff added: “Most of the risks presented to those first on scene at water-related emergencies can be significantly controlled by simple, straightforward and effective water-hazard awareness – which is what NWSMP delivers – but the flood module is that extra level of training, to be taken as part of the NWSMP or as a stand-alone qualification, specifically tailored for a flooding situation. We are excited to launch is at this year’s ESS.”

RLSS UK also offers The National Water Safety Management Programme (Emergency Services), a flexible training award which enables Emergency Service Authorities to provide officers/paramedics with a sensible and proportionate level of occupation-based training – focused around the first few minutes on scene and before specialist back-up arrives.

Cliff added: “Good decision making resulting in successful rescues or avoidance of an emergency in the first place will nearly always be rooted in a clear understanding of the potential hazards specific to open-water emergencies.

“We take a pragmatic approach and recognise that sometimes options are limited, particularly where fast-flowing deeper water is concerned – the key is to know, with confidence, what is possible and what presents an unacceptably high risk.”

Sammy Spall, Force Training Officer for Devon and Cornwall Police has worked with the RLSS UK for many years. He added: “I’m very pleased with the flexibility the NWSMP allows and now use it as standard water safety training for our Special Constables.”

President of the RLSS UK and former Assistant Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire Police, Peter Moyes, has been a lifesaver for more than 25 years and was a member of the Association of Chief Police Officers’ (ACPO) lifesaving committee.

He said: “It is essential for all personnel working in, on or near water to fully understand the risks and make effective decisions about what to do in the management of safe activity around water. The NWSMP enables valuable insight to be gained and used in practise situations and the new modules mean even more high standard, tailored training is available.”

For more information on the new modules, the NWSMP, its content and the various existing modules available, email Damian Hall, contact for RLSS UK Emergency Services and Occupational Safety Advisor at [email protected], call him on 07855 844598 or visit and see NWSMP under work-based qualifications area on the home page.

  • Please visit us on stand Z116 at the Emergency Services Show, Birmingham NEC on September 24th and 25th – you can even have a go at our rope famous throw-line challenge and try and beat last year’s top throw!