Published 25 April 2023

New throwline safety sign released in the UK during ‘Be Water Aware’ campaign week

NFCC Logo image

A scheme that trains businesses based near water in how to rescue people who have fallen in, has been given a further boost by the development of a new national safety sign.

The new sign was developed as a National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) project, led by Firefighter Tommy Richardson QFSM from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) and is supported by the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF) and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

The Waterside Responder Scheme was initially developed by the RNLI and piloted by TWFRS in 2017. The program has now been rolled out across the UK with the support of NFCC.

Fire and rescue services and the RNLI have now delivered the free training to 261 waterside venues. In the Northeast the training and equipment provided to businesses has helped to save at least six people so far.

The new safety signs, which have been funded by NFCC, help members of the public identify premises who have trained staff and a throwline on site. The staff can give help to anyone who may have fallen in the water ahead of the emergency services arriving on scene.

Tommy Richardson said: “The Waterside Responder Scheme has been a fantastic success that has saved lives.

“The new sign will help members of the public quickly get help and rescue equipment if anyone falls in the water. But we also hope the sign will encourage conversations about the risks of accidentally falling in and what you should do in an emergency.

“Hopefully, this sign will be as commonplace and recognisable as an emergency fire exit sign.”

Carlene McAvoy, Leisure Safety Manager at RoSPA said: “This new sign, which compliments the training scheme, will be really beneficial to locations near water across the UK.

“The easy-to-read and understand sign will help alert members of the public to where safety equipment, and trained staff are. This has real potential to help in an emergency”

Venues looking to take part in the scheme can visit:  Help protect your community (