Life-saving throw lines installed on the Kennet and Avon Canal in Newbury by the Canal & River Trust as part of the Water Safety Partnership
New life-saving devices have been installed by the canal in Newbury this week.
The installation of the devices is just part of a number of additional safety measures that have been put in place since the death of a toddler in the canal last March.
On Tuesday the Canal & River Trust charity installed two throw lines - at Victoria Park and the Waterside Centre.
Three-year-old Dylan Milsom died when he fell into the water by Ash Bridge, near the weir behind the former Newbury Weekly News offices on March 13, 2021.
Following Dylan’s death thousands of people signed an online petition calling for more safety measures to be put in place in the area.
Newbury MP Laura Farris also joined the calls for additional measures.
A month after the incident a Water Safety Partnership – made up of West Berkshire Council, Thames Valley Police, the Canal & River Trust, the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service, South Central Ambulance Service and the NHS - was established to improve safety around the district’s canals and rivers.
Mark Evans, director for Wales and South West at the Canal & River Trust, said: “Last June we extended the railings at Victoria Park and we are encouraging everyone to be aware of water safety by increasing warning signs.
“We’re also working with pre-school children and five–11 year olds through a water safety education programme.
“The free virtual water safety workshops and resources include videos, posters and games designed to engage children in learning about water safety.
“The new throw lines are part of the Partnership’s ongoing commitment to water safety.
“We want everyone to safely enjoy the Kennet and Avon Canal and sincerely hope that they will never have to be used.”
The throw lines installed this week are housed in water safety boxes which are opened with a code obtained by calling 999 and asking for the fire service.
The Canal & River Trust confirmed that the code then also gives the rescue services the location of the incident and fire crews will automatically be sent there.
The Trust said that the code was also used to help prevent vandalism so that the throw lines are there and in good order should they ever be needed in an emergency.
The throw lines have been put in as part of a range of water safety measures the Trust is taking, with the Water Safety Partnership, in Newbury.