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Welcome from the Chief

Drowning prevention and water safety awareness

As the weather gets warmer I'm sure plenty of you will want to cool down, and what better way to cool down with than some cold water.

But with water comes danger, and that is why the Service is supporting Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Week from the 13-19th of April.

In the last four years the service has assisted in a numerous rescues or evacuations of persons from water - reservoirs, lakes, rivers and other inland water can put your life or the lives of your loved ones at risk.

Even though inland bodies of water may look safe and inviting, particularly on a warm day, there are hidden dangers below the surface that could make you ill, cause you harm, or even worse - could kill you. 

This year's campaign is focusing primarily on the issue of cold water shock, something that causes a number of fatalities every year as young people - even those who are strong swimmers - are unaware of the effect that it can have on their ability to swim in open water.

No matter how warm the air is in April and May, inland bodies of water are unlikely to have warmed up, and the shock of cold water creates a physical response that can make it more difficult to swim, and can even cause death.

Taking part in leisure activities in, and around, the water is great fun, and the campaign is not about stopping people enjoying this, but simply about raising awareness of the potential risks and encouraging you to stay safe.

Here are the fatal five issues that surround inland waters:

1. Cold water shock - low water temperature can numb limbs and claim lives

2. Do you know what is in or under the water surface? There may be entrapment hazards, pollution, etc.

3. Currents or water conditions - includes floods,unknown depths, ice, riptides, eddies etc.

4. Alcohol consumption - don't swim if you have been drinking

5. Swimming Competency - don't assume because you can swim in a pool that you can deal with the challenges of open

This year's message is 'Tell a friend. Save a friend' and the Service along with other partner agencies will be encouraging people to share information about cold water shock and to be aware of the risks around water.

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