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2nd Aug, 2021

Heatwave prompts urgent open water swim warning

SWIMMERS in Warwickshire being warned not to take the plunge in open water as temperatures soar.

Last year firefighters were called out to several incidents involving young people swimming in the likes of rivers and reservoirs.

Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service community fire prevention manager Moreno Francioso 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.

“Several people have died in separate drowning incidents across England as the country experienced the hottest weekend of the year so far. The most recent incident on was on Sunday in Oxfordshire where a girl tragically lost her life after getting into trouble in a lake in Witney.

“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.”

And Warwickshire County Council community safety spokesman Coun Andy Crump was equally frank.

He 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 www.rlss.org.uk/pages/category/water-safety-information

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