Safety warning about risk of swimming in open water

By Antony Clay | 31/05/2017

Safety warning about risk of swimming in open water

FIREFIGHTERS are urging people not to be tempted to swim in lakes and reservoirs as the mecury continues to rise.
South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue said it attends dozens of water-related incidents each year, many involving rescuing people from open water.
The service said people should avoid open water like rivers and lakes because they may not be aware of the dangers. 
The safety experts said river flows can be unpredictable and water is often deeper, colder and faster than expected.
Figures show that more than 400 people die in the water every year in the UK.
The fire service’s head of community safety, Trevor Bernard, said: “We regularly receive 999 calls in the summer about people getting into difficulty in water, so it’s only a matter of time before someone’s safety is really put at risk unless people listen to our advice.
“It can be tempting to cool off in the summer months, but stick to a swimming pool. Hundreds of people drown each year in the UK and places like rivers, lakes or flooded quarries are completely unsuitable for swimming as they hide a number of hidden dangers.”
The service said that the dangers of open water were:

  • Water can be much deeper than expected;
  • Rivers, lakes, canals and reservoirs are much colder than people think;
  • Open water can carry water borne diseases, like Weils disease;
  • Cold water dramatically affects a person’s ability to swim;
  • There may be hidden currents, which can pull people under the water:
  • There may be hazards below the surface like pieces of rubbish or reeds which can trap or injure people.

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