Public urged to remain safe around open water as temperatures soar

Temperatures across the UK could reach nearly thirty degrees by the end of this week (13 June) as members of the public gear up to bask in the summer rays. 

Whilst we encourage our communities to enjoy the sunshine, firefighters are advising the public to not to swim in open water.

Jim Bywater, Head of Operations at Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service,  said: “There are several risks associated with open water swimming and the Service is reminding our communities to ensure they stay safe as the warmer temperatures hit Staffordshire.

“Open water around lakes, rivers and canals are often much colder than people expect and can cause muscle cramps and shock if people decide to swim them, especially if people aren’t testing the water before entering.

“Currents are often difficult to see before entering the water and can cause serious issues when people attempt to get out, particularly if slippery banks and steep foliage surrounds the water.

“If you come into difficulty, there are no lifeguards who can rescue you, meaning you are completely dependant on those around you who might also experience issues themselves.

“In addition, fresh water, although contradictory to its phrasing, can also be polluted and cause serious illnesses such as Weil’s disease.”

Parents in particular are encouraged to have a chat with their children and ensure they are not planning on swimming in open water with friends towards the end of the week.

Anyone who may witness a person or animal in trouble around water should dial 999 as soon as possible.

If there is a lifebuoy or any form of floatable object nearby, attempt to thrust this near to the person in distress so they are able to keep above the surface.

Those who may visit popular beauty spots as temperatures soar are also reminded that people can still fall into open water by mistake.

Jim added: “In the event in which you fall into water by accident, you should try to avoid the instinct to thrash around as much as possible.

“Your body is likely to react like this when experiencing a drastic change in temperature, but you should lean back, extend your legs and arms and use slow, gentle movements to stay afloat.

“Once you have controlled your breathing, attempt to swim to safety and call for help.”

For more information on how to stay safe around open water, visit: Water safety (staffordshirefire.gov.uk)

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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding.

In an emergency call 999. General enquiries call 0300 330 1000.

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