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.

Whether it’s hot weather leading to more people getting into trouble in the water or the regular flooding this country sees, blue-light services are first on the scene and attend and respond to water-based emergencies daily.

And, after consultation with a number of police, NHS and Fire and Rescue service authorities, the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK), the drowning prevention charity, now offers its innovative National Water Safety Management Programme (NWSMP) under licensed training agreements.

Cliff Nelson, RLSS UK’s Head of Water Safety Management, said: “We know that officers have died, been injured or have found themselves in highly stressful situations during responses to water-based incidents – especially around fast-moving flood water.

“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, and we are we’re delighted to be working with the emergency services.”

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.

The National Water Safety Management Programme (Emergency Services) is a flexible training award which enable 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.

The packages, tailored to individual requirements, offer excellent value for money by either empowering trainers to deliver RLSS UK badged training products in-house, with full technical support, or can be delivered by an outside RLSS UK trainer. Flexible arrangements enable authorities to administer the programme internally or choose the RLSS UK to manage the administrative elements.

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. This course enables valuable insight to be gained and used in practise situations.”

For more information on the NWSMP, its content and the various modules available, email Damian Hall, contact for RLSS UK Emergency Services and Occupational Safety Advisor at [email protected], call him on 07855 844598 or see NWSMP on our website.