VOLUNTEERS from across Cornwall have taken part in a training programme in Hayle to learn how to help save lives in the event of flooding.
Surf Life Saving Cornwall (SLSC), a charity which provides lifeguard training, launched its inland water safety awareness training to improve public safety during flash floods from rivers and canals across the county.
Throughout the training, which is sponsored by South West Water (SWW), members were given practical advice on assisting in rescue operations, similar to the effort launched in the aftermath of the Boscastle floods in 2004.
The National Water Safety Forum, of which SLSC is a member, has reported that between 400 and 600 people drown in the sea or inland waterways in the UK every year, with a further 7,000 getting into serious difficulty.
Hayle Surf Life Saving Club hosted the two days of training, and several members were among those taking part.
The new qualification in inland water safety awareness, which is accredited by Surf Life Saving GB, is aimed at people who spend time in, on or near the water for work and for pleasure. For more information see www.slsgb.org.uk
Richard Gilpin, head of waste water services for SWW, said: "It's a great idea to turn surf lifesavers into flood rescue volunteers and we're proud to support it.
"We're seeing more extreme weather events which can lead to flash floods and emergencies and, as we have seen at beaches over the years, having volunteers on hand who know what to do can be vital in saving lives."
The charity's chairman Nigel Bowden said: "Members of Surf Life Saving Cornwall already give their time generously to make our beaches safer; the course will extend this remit even further, providing 20 members of SLSC with the essential skills to help someone in danger."