Fire and Police issue water safety warning after tragic drowning

Newbold Quarry Park, Rugby

Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service along with Warwickshire Police are asking those enjoying the current heatwave to think carefully before they attempt to swim in lakes, quarries or any type of open water, following a recent fatality of a 17 year old boy at the quarry in Bishops Itchington, one of a spate of incidents nationally in which people have got into difficulty in open water.

Warwickshire has a wide variety of lakes, quarries and waterways, all of which carry hidden dangers and with the summer holidays now upon us, this danger is only going to increase, with more and more people thinking that it’s perfectly safe to swim in open water.

In a bid to save lives, Fire and Police officers will be out and about in the next few weeks at local quarries and lakes where young people hang out to talk to them about the dangers they could face when swimming in open water.

Officers from Warwickshire Police responded to two reports at of people swimming in quarry at Bishops Itchington at the weekend. Following one report officers found two people swimming in the quarry. One of them refused to stop even after officers warned him of the dangers.

Group Commander and Prevention lead for Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service, Tim Sargent said:

“We know with the warmer weather that swimming in open water can be a real attraction, but the water is very deceiving and can often take you under, especially if you dive or tombstone into the water. Add cold water shock to the mix and you have a recipe for disaster.

“Our advice to anyone considering going into the water is just not to do it. However, we know that we know that people will still be tempted. So if you are out with friends and you do decide to swim, then don’t drink alcohol, as this will inhibit your ability and perception of risk and will leave you unable to deal with the cold water shock. Stay together and look out for each other. If something does happen, call 999 immediately; do not attempt a rescue yourself.”

Chief Inspector Neil Harrison from Warwickshire Police, said:

“We are dedicated to doing everything we can to protect our communities from harm and this includes letting people know about the risks involved with swimming in open water.

“As summer temperatures soar, taking a cooling dip in water is an obvious temptation. Bodies of water may look appealing, or even safe in some cases, however strong currents, hazardous objects, and pollution mean they often hide much less obvious dangers.

“Even if you are a strong swimmer you are still susceptible to dangers such as cold water shock, which affects your ability to swim and can have severe effects on your body in as little as three minutes. The longer you are in the water, the greater your chance of hypothermia as your core body temperature drops to a dangerous level.

“The best way to stay safe is to avoid swimming in open water and ensure you only enter water where there is adequate supervision and rescue cover.

“Working with Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service, will continue to educate people about the risks of cold water shock and how swimming in open water can put them and others in serious danger. While we do not want to stop anyone from enjoying the warm weather, we would urge them to listen to our advice and do so in a safe and responsible way.”

Warwickshire County Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Safety, Councillor Andy Crump said:

“We are committed to making the communities of Warwickshire safer and while we want everyone to have a good summer and enjoy the sun, we don’t want them to take the risk of swimming in lakes or quarries in an attempt to cool down.

“There have been a number of fatalities nationally and tragically one here in Warwickshire. So if you have young children or teenagers, please talk to them about the dangers of swimming in open water and help them to understand the risks involved. All we want is for everyone to enjoy their summer safely!”

For further tips and advice, please visit https://www.rospa.com/leisure-safety/water/advice/children-young-people/