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RNLI offers winter dip advice in new safety video

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WITH indoor pools closed for much of the year due to Covid-19, there has been an explosion of interest and participation in outdoor swimming and dipping with many people trying it for the very first time. The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) has now released a new safety advice video for anyone considering taking a dip in the sea this winter.

But, while most open water swimmers enjoy themselves completely safely, the RNLI are stressing the importance of being aware of the potential dangers of taking a dip in the sea at this time of year.

There have been several recent incidents around the UK and Ireland and earlier this month a 61-year-old man drowned after getting into trouble while swimming in the sea in Dorset.

The short YouTube video is presented by two members of the RNLI’s water safety team, Nick Ayers and Liam Fayle-Parr – both experienced open water swimmers themselves.

It is aimed primarily at people who are new to the sport or who want to bob around in the sea for a while, rather than more experienced open water swimmers – although the advice applies to anyone entering cold water this winter.

RNLI Head of Water Safety Gareth Morrison said: ‘There are well-documented physical and mental health benefits of swimming in the sea, but it can also be very dangerous if you are unaware or under-prepared. The purpose of this video is to help you enjoy it safely.

‘We hope that people will share the video and the safety advice in it with their family, friends and swimming groups.

‘Our volunteer lifeboat crews have dealt with a relatively high number of incidents since the end of the summer involving swimmers and dippers, so we are asking everyone to be aware of what they can do to keep themselves and others safe, and to respect the water.

‘There are a number of things to help ensure you have an enjoyable and safe time in the water such as not swimming alone, staying in your depth and knowing how to warm up properly afterwards, which sounds obvious but is crucial to avoid any delayed effects of the cold.

‘We would also always recommend checking with your doctor before trying it for the first time, especially if you have underlying health issues. If in any doubt, stay out of the water. If you or anyone else does get into trouble in or on the water please call 999 or 112 immediately and ask for the Coastguard.’

Swim Wales, an organisation which works closely with the RNLI is encouraging people to watch the video before heading out on a swim. Fergus Feeney, Chief Executive Officer Swim Wales said:

‘Swim Wales are delighted to support the RNLI with the release of their new educational video. We encourage those wanting to be aquatically active in open water to take heed of these key safety messages.’

The RNLI works closely with Adventure Smart UK, an initiative which encourages people to enjoy all that Wales has to offer safely. Paul Donovan, Adventure Smart Wales Project Manager, said: ‘Adventure Smart UK encourages all open water swimmers and dippers to consider their gear, the weather conditions and their level of skill and experience in the activity. As partners in the Adventure Smart campaign, the RNLI actively work with other organisations to encourage people to take simple steps to ensure their outdoor adventures are both safe and fun – together we urge people to #BeAdventureSmart. For more information go to www.AdventureSmart.uk.’

The RNLI’s key safety advice for taking a winter dip is:

Never swim alone – always go with someone else to a familiar spot
Always check the weather forecast, including tide information and wave height
If in doubt, stay out – there is always another day to go for a swim
Take plenty of warm clothes for before and after your dip, along with a hot drink to help you warm up again when you come out of the water
Wearing a wetsuit will help increase your buoyancy and reduce the chances of suffering cold water shock
Be seen – wear a brightly coloured swim cap and consider using a tow float
Acclimatise to the water temperature slowly – never jump straight in
Stay in your depth and know your limits
If you get into trouble remember FLOAT to live by leaning back in the water, extending your arms and legs, and resisting the urge to thrash around to gain control of your breathing
Take a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch
If you or someone else is in trouble call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard

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Permit applications open for Tenby pedestrianisation scheme

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL is now accepting applications for vehicle access during this year’s Pedestrianisation of Tenby.

The scheme, which is due to start on Monday, July 5 and conclude on Friday, September 10, will again see the walled town divided into three ‘zones’, each having varying degrees of vehicle access.

Whilst all necessary plans are being put in place for it to start and finish on the above dates, the scheme will remain under constant review in light of Government guidance relating to Covid-19, and the Council will provide any updates as necessary.

Possession of an ‘access permit’ does not provide any exemption from Government restrictions, and any regulations relating to travel and the occupation of holiday accommodation or second homes must be observed at all times.

Following the success of last year, the permit application process will continue online, with paper application forms and guidance notes no longer being delivered to residents and businesses.

The application form and guidance notes are available from pembrokeshire.gov.uk/tenby-pedestrianisation

Residents and business within Tenby are encouraged to complete the application process as soon as possible, to ensure that there is sufficient time for the application to be processed.

Permits will be issued approximately 7-10 days prior to the start of the scheme.

For enquiries, e-mail tenby.pedestrian@pembrokeshire.gov.uk

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Join the Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Panel as an independent member

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THE Dyfed Powys Police and Crime Panel is looking for two members to join them in their work to support and challenge the Dyfed Powys Police and Crime Commissioner.

The Panel is made of up of members nominated by Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys county councils along with at least two independent members.

Opportunities have now arisen for two independent members to join the Panel and carry out key statutory roles that will support the Commissioner exercise his role effectively.

Members will be expected to attend and take part in regular meetings and take part in decision making, creating reports and making recommendations to the Commissioner.

They will review the Commissioner’s annual draft Police and Crime Plan and annual draft budget, review and scrutinise his decisions and actions, and if necessary review the proposed appointment or removal of the Chief Constable and other senior police force appointments.

Applicants will need to demonstrate that they can take a balanced and objective approach in supporting the Panel and the Commissioner, make strategic and well-informed decisions, and interpret and question financial, statistical and performance related information.

They will also need to be able to act as a ‘critical friend’, challenging views or proposals for change constructively.

Applications close on May 31, and appointments to the Panel will be made until October 31, 2024. 

For further information, visit www.dppoliceandcrimepanel.wales

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Successful Fire Service and Health Board partnership to enhance COVID-19 vaccine roll out comes to end

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TUESDAY 11 May 2021 marked the end of a hugely successful partnership between Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service and Hywel Dda University Health Board, initiated to enhance the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine to the communities of Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire.

Since February, Community Safety Staff from Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service have transported 125 passengers over 9450 miles to ensure they were able to receive their COVID-19 vaccination.

Chris Davies, Chief Fire Officer for Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service said: “Recognising the configuration of our Service, the areas we cover and indeed the people we employee, this seemed an ideal opportunity for us to widen our response to the pandemic and support our partners in safeguarding our communities.

“Whilst we already collaborate with the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust, this opportunity enabled us to expand our assistance further within the health arena. This partnership with Hywel Dda University Health Board was the first of its kind for Fire and Rescue Services in Wales and paved the way for a number of similar partnerships for us and the other Fire and Rescue Services in Wales.

“I am extremely proud of our staff who have participated in this collaboration and have made a huge difference to the lives of so many people. Their contribution has without doubt had a positive impact on our response to this global pandemic”.

Mydrian Harries, Corporate Head of Prevention and Protection for Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, coordinated the Service’s response to this call for assistance.

“Our communities are at the heart of our core business. Knowing we were in a position to make an impact, we put in place a robust solution in record time, to not only ensure the safety and wellbeing of our staff, but to also safeguard those who were eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination, but may have had barriers preventing them from attending their appointments.

“Using this partnership as template within which we could expand, we have since been able to offer our assistance to other Health Boards across the Service area. Indeed, a group of 10 vaccine heroes from our Service have joined Powys Teaching Health Board’s vaccination team, playing their part in distributing vaccines at mass vaccination sites in Newtown and Builth Wells. This is another fantastic example of how working together has been vital in our ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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