New partnership improving safety on our rivers

A new partnership formed between a group of local agencies in early 2017 has resulted in an overhaul of life saving equipment provisions along the River Foyle and River Mourne.

The group, which includes Foyle Search & Rescue, City Centre Initiative, Derry and Strabane Policing and Community Safety Partnership and fundraiser Niall Doran, has worked over the past year to audit, review and replace the old lifebelt housings with new state of the art equipment, branded with appropriate messaging.

In February 2017, in response to public safety concerns, the group came together to kick start a project to regenerate and improve the river safety provisions along the banks of the River Foyle and River Mourne.

Stephen Twells from Foyle Search and Rescue explained: “Foyle Search and Rescue are involved in the promotion of water safety as part of their role in the ‘Preservation of Life’ in and around the River Foyle. 14 new lifebelts have been located in the local area bringing the total number strategically located along the river to 35.

“We have seen the lifebelts activated on 37 occasions to save lives. All lifebelts now have a specific ‘zone’ and number marked on them to enable quick identification of the location should the lifebelt be activated. Contact telephone numbers are also visible on each of the lifebuoy housings.”

Delighted that the project has now been completed, Niall Doran of City Centre Initiative said: “The new lifesaving equipment in Derry and Strabane will massively improve public safety in and around the River Foyle and River Mourne. Locally we have developed an app which will be used by Foyle Search and Rescue and the City Centre Wardens for the ongoing monitoring and maintenance of the new equipment on the River Foyle. This will ensure that any issues with the equipment are logged and dealt with without delay.”

Chair of Derry and Strabane PCSP, Alderman Drew Thompson, welcomed the news. "We were delighted to partner this important initiative and provide financial support to deliver the project. Both Derry and Strabane have developed from their rivers and the Foyle and Mourne continue to provide a focus for our residents and visitors.

“The enhancement of river safety is important for everyone availing of these resources and we will continue to explore ways to make our rivers safer places for all its users. I would congratulate all the partners involved in bringing this project to completion."

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