'Stay away from the water' - Fire service safety warning as pubs prepare to reopen

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service has urged people to stay away from the water if they're going to be drinking this weekend.

Saturday, 4th July 2020, 6:49 pm

The service has shared the tragic story of 22-year-old Ross Irwin, who died after falling into the River Wear following a night out with his friends in Fatfield, Washington, as a poignant reminder of the dangers of the water.

Ross’s family were left heartbroken when his body was found in the water on Christmas Eve in 2016, around 100 yards away from where he fell.

And as the pubs prepare to reopen this weekend for the first time since March, TWFRS is calling on the public to stay safe.

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Dave Irwin lost his son Ross in December 2016.

A statement said: “With many pubs reopening tomorrow, we’re urging people to stay away from the water.

“Alcohol lowers your inhibitions, increases risk taking behaviour and affects your co-ordination – a deadly combination.

“In 2018, 89% of men who died after going missing on a night out were found dead in water. If you’re going out this weekend, plan your journey home and don’t let your friends wander off if they’ve had too much to drink.”

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TWFRS has also reminded punters that many waterside venues have lifesafing equipment nearby in case of an emergency.

In Washington, throwbags are available at The Biddick Inn and Havelock Arms. A throwline board was also installed nearby in Ross’s memory.

Ross's dad Dave, a crew manager for the fire service, became a campaigner in the wake of his son’s death, calling on parents to educate their children on the dangers of the water.

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