New rescue equipment installed along Rochdale Canal to save lives

  • New rescue poles installed in Manchester city centre 
  • Designed for public use in an emergency
  • First step in improvements to city's canals

New rescue equipment has been installed along Rochdale Canal in the city centre to improve safety and prevent further loss of life.

Two telescopic rescue poles have been installed near locks 87 and 88 along the canal in Canal Street to help in the rescue of people who fall into the water. 

They are first of many rescue poles that the Greater Manchester Fire Service and the Canals and River Trust North West plan to install to speed up the rescue process in cases of emergencies. 

The move follows an incident earlier this year when a man fell into the river near the Lowry Hotel and another man subsequently jumped in after to try and save him. The second man got out of the water when emergency services arrived.

After a huge emergency operation, the body of the first man was found a few hours after the incident was first reported. Incidents like that has played a part in the improvements of the canal’s safety measures. 

In an emergency where someone has fallen into the canal, a member of the public is advised to ring 999 straight away and ask for the fire brigade., They are then given a code on the board next to the rescue pole to open the box to access the rescue pole and help the person who has fallen into the canal. 


Station manager for Greater Manchester Fire Services, David Wilson, said: “The reach pole are there to speed up the process of rescue, the public can start rescuing the person before the emergency services gets there.

“The new safety feature will improve the overall safety of the canal to some degree, but the most important work we do is in prevention. By outlining dangers around the canal, encouraging people to not walk near the canals when its dark.”

As well as the rescue poles, the lighting in and around the canals in Manchester will also be improved in order to improve safety features.