Promoting Drowning Prevention Week

Posted 18/06/2015 14:10:36

North Wales Fire and Rescue Service is urging the public to stay safe as the weather gets warmer, and will be supporting Drowning Prevention Week which is taking place from 20 - 28th June 2015.

We all like to cool down as the summer months approach, but reservoirs, lakes, rivers and other inland water could risk you or the lives of your loved ones.

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, hurt you, and - at worst - 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.

Two men died and two others were taken to hospital after getting into difficulty while swimming in extremely cold water in a waterfall in Llanberis earlier this month.

Stuart Millington, Senior Fire Safety Manager, said: "No matter how warm the air is in the summer months, 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 Drowning Prevention Week is not about stopping people enjoying this, but simply about raising awareness of potential risks and encouraging them to stay safe.

"Swimming in unknown waters and venturing in the locality of any open water can be very dangerous and I ask everyone to take extra care when near any water."

Sadly the majority of water related fatalities in young adults aged 16-30  in 2013 across the UK could have been prevented if simple measures were taken to avoid the fatal five issues:

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 water.

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