Every year, in the UK, around 400 people die from drowning as a result of an accident in or around water and hundreds more have near-drowning experiences, sometimes suffering life-changing injuries.
Talking about the dangers, Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Community Fire Prevention and Arson Manager, Moreno Francioso, said:
“I cannot stress enough the dangers that exist in swimming in open water. While reservoirs, lakes, rivers and other inland water may look safe and inviting, particularly on a hot days, there are hidden dangers below the surface that could make you ill, hurt you, and at worst, kill you.
“So please think twice before you get into deep water and not only put your life at risk, but also the lives of the firefighters or passers-by, who go into the waters to try and rescue you.”
Warwickshire County Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Fire Safety, Cllr Andy Crump added:
“Knowing how to stay safe in and around water is vital to keeping you and your loved ones safe. If you see someone in trouble in water, don’t enter the water yourself. Dial 999 and ask for the fire service. Remember, if you do fall in, don’t struggle, simply float or gently tread water. Being able to stay calm can be the difference between life and death.”
To help you stay safe in and around open water, please be aware of the following:
The water can be very cold – this could very quickly lead to severe cramp and hypothermia. Remember, cold water shock can kill!
There may be hidden currents which could quickly pull you under the water – It can be difficult to get out, especially when trying to climb embankments.
Alcohol and swimming do not mix – stay out of the water if you have been drinking.
If someone falls into deep water the first thing is to call for help straight away.
Don’t jump or dive into open water unless you know the depth; submerged objects such as rocks may not be visible and can cause serious injuries.
Be aware that there may be strong currents, even where the water surface appears calm.
Call 999 and ask for the fire service and ambulance. When you have made this call, shout for help from anyone who might be close by.
Never enter the water to try and save someone. This can add to the problem even if you are a strong swimmer.
If you do manage to get them out of the water, always seek medical attention – if water has entered the lungs then it can cause death up to 48 hours after the incident.
For more information on how to stay safe near water, log onto http://www.rospa.com/leisure-safety/water