Volunteers from across Cornwall will take part in a training programme in Hayle this weekend to learn how to help save lives in the event of flooding.
Surf Life Saving Cornwall (SLSC), a charity which provides lifeguard training, is launching inland water safety awareness training to improve public safety during flash floods from rivers and canals across the county.
Throughout the training, which is sponsored by South West Water(SWW), members will be given practical advice on assisting in rescue operations, similar to the one needed during the Boscastle floods in 2004.
Nigel Bowden, chairman SLSC, said: “Members of Surf Life Saving Cornwall already give their time generously to make our beaches safer, the course this weekend will extend this remit even further, providing 20 members of Surf Life Saving Cornwall with the essential skills to help someone in danger in rivers and canals.”
Reports from the National Water Safety Form, of which SLSC is a member, state that between 400 and 600 people drown in the sea or inland waterways in the UK every year, with a further 7,000 getting into serious difficulty.
Richard Gilpin, head of waste water services for SWW said: “It’s a great idea to turn surf lifesavers into flood rescue volunteers and we’re proud to support it. We’re seeing more extreme weather events which can lead to flash floods and emergencies and as we have seen at beaches over the years having volunteers on hand who know what to do can be vital in saving lives.”
Hayle Surf Life Saving Club will host the training over the two days and has several members taking part.
The new inland water safety awareness qualification, which is accredited by Surf Life Saving GB, is aimed at people who spend time in, on or near water for work and pleasure.
It is open to everyone over the age of 16 and is essential for environment and utilities contractors, as well as educational group leaders and outdoor pursuit instructors.
For more information visit www.slsgb.org.uk.