Fire service issues safety warning for swimming in open water

Warwickshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service are issuing a stark warning to young people caught swimming in open water.  

On Friday evening fire crews were called out to several youths swimming at Napton Reservoir. Crews attended and then returned on Saturday and Sunday to deter any further incidents and to advise anyone considering diving in about the dangers they may face.     

Water safety

Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Services Group Manager for Prevention, Tim Sargent said  

 “I cannot stress enough the dangers that exist when swimming in open water. While reservoirs, lakes, rivers and other inland water may look safe and inviting, particularly on a hot day, there are hidden dangers below the surface that could seriously injure or even 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 our firefighters or passers-by, who go in to try and rescue you. 

“Two brothers tragically lost their lives at the weekend on the Lancashire Coast after getting cut off by the rising tide. Last week a 12-year-old was found in the River Leven, near Balloch Bridge in Scotland and two hours before a mother in her 30’s drowned at Waxham in Norfolk, after she jumped into the sea to rescue her son and his friend, who had got into difficulty in a kayak. These are horrific outcomes and we really don’t want to see that happening in Warwickshire. So please listen to our advice and stay away from open water!” 

Councillor Andy Crump, Portfolio Holder for Fire and Rescue and Community Safety, added: “Swimming in open water is a recipe for disaster and the advice of the fire service is not to do it. However, it is important that young people know how to stay safe in and around open water, especially in an emergency.  

If you see someone in trouble in the water, don’t enter it yourself. Dial 999 and ask for the fire service. Remember, if you do fall in, don’t struggle, stay calm and simply float. Being able to stay calm can be the difference between life and death. Once the cold-water shock passes, you will then be able to devise a plan on how to get out or stay afloat long enough for the emergency services to get you out. 

“The safest option though is really not to swim in open water in the first place.” 

For more information on staying safe in or around water, visit: https://www.rlss.org.uk/pages/category/water-safety-information 

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