Where the duck is it? KFRS launches festive water safety campaign
6 December 2018
Revellers enjoying a drink in Kent pubs over the festive period could find themselves in quacking company. Christmassy rubber ducks have been placed behind the bar at several watering holes as part of Kent Fire and Rescue Service’s (KFRS) latest water safety campaign, Got Ducked Fell in - Christmas edition.
Got Ducked Fell In was launched in May this year, with large rubber ducks dotted around the county on land in high risk areas where Kent firefighters have repeatedly rescued people from nearby waters. Those who spotted them were encouraged to see it, snap it and share it on social media with #GotDuckedFellin.
Now the fire service’s water safety mascots have donned Father Christmas threads and are infiltrating pubs where there is a river in the local area. Customers are again encouraged to spot them, take a photo and share it on social media with #GotDuckedFellin.
It’s about raising awareness of the dangers of entering water after drinking even a small amount alcohol, and reducing the chance of someone falling in Kent’s rivers accidentally after a night out.
In the past nine years, KFRS has attended more than 335 water rescues, that’s an average of 37 a year, and some of those incidents will have involved individuals who were drunk.
Nationally, 89% of men who die after going missing on a night out, are found dead in water.
The Christmas campaign launches on the two year anniversary of the disappearance of Ben Savage, who drowned after entering the River Medway after a festive night out with friends, on 6 December 2016. His parents, Tara and Martin, backed the Got Ducked Fell In campaign when it initially launched earlier this year, and they’re supporting the initiative again this Christmas.
Simple steps to stay safe
Kent Fire and Rescue Service is urging anyone going out drinking this festive season to follow some simple steps to keep themselves safe, and make this a Christmas one to remember for the right reasons:
• Before you go out let someone know where you’re going and what time you think you’ll be home – if you don’t arrive home, they’ll know to raise the alarm
• Plan your journey home in advance – try to organise a lift or taxi, but if you plan to walk home choose well-lit routes, away from water
• Make sure your phone is fully charged before you go out
• Be aware of the amount of alcohol you’re drinking and know when to stop to stay safe
• Look out for friends who may have had too much to drink, make sure they don’t wander off and help them to get home safely
'If you fall in after just a drink or two, you’re likely to drown'
Leanne McMahon, KFRS Group Manager for Community Safety, Prevention and Protection, said: “It only takes a small amount of alcohol to impact your ability to save yourself in water. Even strong swimmers with no alcohol in their system could struggle if they fell in a river, due to underwater currents and the effects of cold water shock, which includes involuntary inhalation and can result in drowning. So if you fall in after just a drink or two, you’re likely to drown because your reaction times are reduced, instincts are skewed and coordination is impacted.
“We’re asking everyone who spots our pub ducks to take a photo and post it on social media with #GotDuckedFellin to help raise awareness and start a conversation about water safety.
“Have fun this Christmas, but please take care and think before you drink near water – you don’t want to be the one who got ducked and fell in.”
'Amazing to see such a positive campaign come out of such a horrific situation'
Tara and Martin Savage said: “It’s amazing to see such a positive campaign come out of such a horrific situation - us losing Ben to the River Medway, two years ago. Looking at the statistics, we’re one of many families who have lost a loved one to water. We’re sure that the awareness raised from Kent Fire and Rescue Service's campaign and safety tips will save many lives this winter and in the coming years.”
The Flower Pot in Maidstone is one of the pubs across Kent taking part in Got Ducked Fell In. Landlord David Davenport said: “We’re very happy to be supporting Kent Fire and Rescue Service with its Got Ducked Fell In Christmas campaign, and we’ll have a duck hidden at The Flower Pot over the festive period for customers to find. We’re located not far from the River Medway at Fairmeadow, so if we can help encourage our customers who walk home to choose well-lit routes away from water, then it’s definitely worth doing.”
Want to get involved with the campaign?
Any pubs in Kent with open water in the local area that would like to get involved, can email firstname.lastname@example.org before Monday, 17 December 2018 (while duck stocks last).