Refreshed water safety stations throw town a new lifeline

23 November 2023

A country park in Ashford has become the first in the town to unveil refreshed water safety stations, with support from Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS). 

Lifesaving throwlines and information boards have been installed at an Ashford Park, to help people take quick and safe action if they see someone in trouble in water.  
Conningbrook Lakes Country Park now has three updated water safety stations with throwlines, and each displays a precise location reference for people to give to the emergency services. 
The signs instruct people to call 999 and ask for the fire service if someone needs rescuing from the lake, to give the location reference, and how to use a throwline safely and accurately. Fire service 999 call handlers will provide the access code to unlock the throwline. 
The signs have been designed by Ashford Borough Council in partnership with Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS), which is responsible for inland water rescues. 
KFRS Water Project Officer Grant Brooker said: “Not everyone knows to call the fire service for inland water rescue, but it’s a core part of what we do. If you see someone in trouble in a river, a lake, or any other area of water that isn’t the coast, call 999 and ask for the fire service. 
“The water safety stations at Conningbrook Lakes will provide life-saving support in an emergency - helping us to reach the person in need as quickly as possible. 

"Also, the locked boxes will hopefully stop vandalism to ensure the potentially lifesaving equipment is secure and ready to use should somebody require rescuing.

"We are hoping other local authorities will come on board and this water safety initiative will be countywide."
Cllr Kate Walder, Portfolio Holder for Recreation and Public Spaces, said the council’s Aspire Landscape Management team had installed three main stations and a number of smaller throwline facilities at key locations around the lakes, which span over 30 acres in the shadow of the North Downs.

“We are trialling the effectiveness of this initiative before a decision is made to extend it to other lakes and water bodies under the control of the council. Using throwlines instead of the old style red and white life rings has a number of advantages and along with our partners at Kent Fire and Rescue Service we hope this will prove a real success,” she added.