Safety officers gear up for ‘Amber Thursday’ ahead of bank holiday weekend
Kildare County Council is joining forces with fire, road and water safety officers across Ireland to promote ‘Amber Thursday’ ahead of the August Bank Holiday weekend, which is traditionally one of the busiest weekends of the year.
As thousands of people flock to beaches, rivers and pools, many more take to the roads while some go camping or fire up the barbeque either in the garden or away from the home. All these activities bring with them, an important element of safety and awareness.
Thursday 29th July, marks the first ‘Amber Thursday’ event which is a joint collaboration between safety bodies, fire services and local authorities to help promote fire, road and water safety over the holiday weekend to ensure people are aware of risks and dangers associated with these activities.
The recent dry spell and warm weather has resulted in an increase in outdoor fires while there have also been some tragedies in the waters and on the roads.
Last August, Lifeguards rescued 206 people at risk of drowning, administered first aid 1,780 times and reunited 140 lost children with their loved ones. Kildare County Council’s Water Safety Officer Syl Merrins said “The August bank holiday weekend is traditionally a really busy weekend with people heading to beaches, waterways or swimming pools. It is a holiday period, but it also creates a dangerous precedence in that sense. A lot of people are doing water activities, some may not be overly familiar with water and that’s where a lot of problems arise. With currents in rivers and lakes, there are plenty of obstacles and risks that people aren’t aware of. People should be familiar with waterways they are getting into, and you should never swim alone, and people shouldn’t take anything for granted. We’re not killjoys, it’s important to say that but it’s also important that we’re careful in the water.”
Long journeys can be a challenge for motorists and can lead to driver fatigue. Speeding and non-wearing of a seatbelt are also common factors which result in serious or fatal injuries of road users. Kildare County Council’s Road Safety Officer Declan Keogh said “Anyone taking to the roads over the bank holiday weekend should be mindful of the many risks associated with travelling on the road. Everyone needs to share the road and be cautious and courteous towards one another. It’s imperative that drivers are sober of alcohol or illegal drugs while driving and that all passengers are wearing a seatbelt or the appropriate seat restraint. We’d advise drivers to ensure their vehicle is roadworthy and they have everything the need for the trip and to take regular breaks from driving during long journeys.”
This bank holiday weekend is a particularly busy time for firefighters who are called to various incidents including wildfires, forest fires, outdoor fires, barbeque or domestic fires and road traffic collisions. Kildare’s Acting Chief Fire Officer Chanel Ryan said “Whether you’re in your garden or out camping, please barbeque safely to ensure you have an enjoyable experience and keep everyone present safe from the threat of fire. Please also be aware of the surrounding environment, particularly in very dry weather. Never place disposable barbeques on anything flammable. Please dispose of cigarettes responsibly and ensure charcoal barbeques are cooled down completely before disposal.”
Amber Thursday is supported by Local Authorities, the Chief Fire Officers Association, Road Safety Authority, Water Safety Ireland and Local Authority Road Safety Officers.
Further information can be found at amberthursday.ie