Be a hero and don’t let your drunk friend into the water!
This year’s water safety campaign by the Rescue Board, named “Don’t let your drunk friend into the water” is a reminder to us that no amount of advertising can prevent a drunk person from going swimming, but friends can. The social campaign depicting the dangers of swimming drunk says, that the worst can be avoided even on the shore.
“This year’s water safety campaign reminds us of our responsibility and opportunity to stop our friends in the right moment. Anyone can be the hero among their friends by reminding them that they should not go swimming until they are sober again”, says the head of prevention work for the Rescue Board Indrek Ints.
Estonia had a total of 56 deaths by drowning in 2013. Through the years, the number of drownings rises significantly in the summer months, usually being highest in June or July. Most of the deaths during this time period are men, but compared to previous years, the percentage of women is consistently on the rise. Most of the drowning cases can still be attributed to the use of alcohol. Despite a good awareness of the dangers of swimming while intoxicated, the use of alcohol inhibits the sense of danger and a person will go into the water to freshen up, swim of to test their abilities.
Calls for preventing your drunk friends going for a swim are seen and heard in every major TV and radio stations in Estonia, billboards showing safety massages are put up in shopping centers. Printed notices are put on streets, in newspapers, entertaining and educational safety advertisements are distributed through social media. A computer game specifically designed for social media gives a chance to practice different prevention techniques to not let your drunk friend into the water and prizes are given to the most successful. Prized games are held and water safety tips are published throughout the summer on the Facebook page of the Rescue Board.
The message about water safety is also spread by public events and festivals held close to bodies of water and who have signed a good practice pact with the Rescue Board in the spring. All parties agreed on recommended points in the contract that are at the moment not mandatory by law for public events, but their implementation would help to increase the safety of the visitors and prevent accidents. The good practice pact was made with events like Pühajärve Bonfire, Viru Folk, The Watergate Water Festival, Surf camp, Tallinn Maritime Days, Saaremaa Beach party, Mändjala Bonfire, Summerjam festival and Kloogaranna festival.