Shrewsbury river tragedies: Safety training for business staff across town

Businesses in Shrewsbury are being encouraged to attend a special training session about river safety, and what steps to take if someone falls into the River Severn, following recent tragedies in the town.

Businesses in Shrewsbury are being invited to have staff take part in river safety training
Businesses in Shrewsbury are being invited to have staff take part in river safety training

Shrewsbury BID has teamed up with Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service to offer free training on the RNLI waterside response scheme programme (WSP).

Two young men, Nathan Fleetwood and Toby Jones, both died in Shrewsbury's River Severn in the space of a matter of days in March and April, while another man, Dan Walker, has been left with life-changing injuries after being rescued from the water. A river safety review sparked by a the tragedies will be finished "as soon as possible," councillors were told earlier this month,

Inspector Ben Tanfield, of Shrewsbury Police, said it was important for representatives from every premises serving alcohol in Shrewsbury to undertake the training.

“Shrewsbury is geographically small, so even if your business is not located directly adjacent to the river it will still be nearby and customers are likely to encounter the river soon after leaving your premises," he said.

“We’ve recently seen two tragic deaths in the River Severn in close succession. Many additional safety measures are being considered for the town and a thorough review is currently being conducted by WSP on behalf of Shropshire Council.

“We expect to see a number of recommendations for licensed premises to be included in the final report.

“Taking part in this training will allow premises to get ahead of these recommendations, will add another layer of safety to the town centre, and help businesses comply with the four licensing objectives.”

Stephanie Mansell-Jones, business liaison at Shrewsbury BID, urged businesses to send their staff on the course and play a part in creating a safer Shrewsbury.

She said: “If somebody gets into difficulty in water that’s not normally used for swimming or leisure activities, specialist help is often unavailable. However, specially trained hospitality staff, security staff and waterside community members could provide help in an emergency.

“This programme is about equipping people who work near water, which could be anywhere in Shrewsbury, with the basic knowledge and skills to be confident to take action to save a life.

“The session will give you the basic knowledge and skills you need to recognise hazards in and around water, provide safety advice to people using waterside areas, and if necessary, rescue someone from the water.”

The training will take place at Hickory's Smokehouse, on Victoria Quay, on June 28, from 9.30am to 12midday.

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