Page 17 - July 2019
P. 17

Brigade’s campaign for water safety
What3Words A life saver App
In the early hours of Monday (17 June), officers from Bedfordshire Police, along with colleagues from Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, used the What3Words app to pinpoint a woman in waist deep water. While speaking to the woman, officers were able to find her location through What3Words. The fire service then rescued her in under an hour.
The location technology used by What3Words has divided the world into 3m x 3m squares. Each square has been allocated a unique three word address, which means anyone can refer to their exact location simply by using the three words.“The new technology enables us to get help to where it is needed, as quickly as possible. Every minute counts in an emergency so it could really help save lives.”
Group Commander Darren Cook, borough commander north at Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, added: “Technology like this is invaluable to us – it really helps us get to those who need us most, as quickly as possible, giving us the best chance to save lives. “We would encourage the public to download the app, as you never know when you may need it.” What3Words is free-to-use and available as an app and on the What3Words website. The new technology is integrated into the police’s control room software which means the public can share their three word address when contacting the police.
“Don’t be the reason a police officer turns up on your parents’ doorstep with tragic news.” That’s the stark warning from a mum who has teamed up with firefighters to encourage people to think before they drink alcohol near water following the death of her teenage son, who drowned in the Thames after a night out.
Andrea Corrie is supporting London Fire Brigade’s campaign to raise awareness of water safety this summer in memory of her son James Clark who drowned after a night out in Kingston in 2005. Jameshadfinishedhisfirstyearat Brighton University where he was studying for a teaching degree and had met up with some college friends for a night out. At the end of the night, they separated to get taxis in different directions and neither group realised James wasn’t with the others.His body was found three days later near Kingston Bridge. He was 19. Since then, Andrea has campaigned to make riversides safer and has now joined up with the Brigade to support their water safety work. The Brigade is aiming to raise awareness of what people should do if they spot someone in the water and is highlighting the dangers of water, particularly when it comes to alcohol.
Last year, 30 people died in the River Thames and around a quarter of them had alcohol in their system. For every one person that drowns, eight people are left with life-changing injuries such as respiratory problems.
Andrea said: “James had said to me that evening not to worry if he didn’t come back which wasn’t
unusual as he often stayed with friends, so I wasn’t concerned he wasn’t home the following morning. “I started to feel worried later in the day when he hadn’t appeared and he hadn’t replied to a message from me. Then a friend of his phoned and asked if I had seen or heard from him because none of them could get hold of him, and my heart just sank. I had an instinctive feeling that the worst had happened.”
She worked with Kingston Council over a three year period and the results include the installation of safety barriers along stretches of the water and liaison with local businesses to undertake water safety training. The council arranged for better CCTV, improved lighting and life-saving equipment, and more robust methods of incident reporting.
She also campaigns tirelessly around water safety, and is working with the Brigade to get the message across to people how important it is to keep safe by the water.
Andrea added: “How would you feel if you imagined your parents opening the door to a police officer to tell them you’ve drowned? It’s the worst thing that can ever possibly happen to you as a parent.
“It’s not about being a killjoy and trying to stop people having fun – it’s about raising awareness about how quickly life can change. Think about the situation you are in and what the worst thing is that could happen and just hold it in your mind for a few moments to give you that awareness this summer.
Bedfordshire FRS News Desk
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London Fire Brigade News Desk

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