Rivers and canals can hide dangers Northamptonshire firefighters warn

Younsters and teenagers are being warned about the dangers of open water
Younsters and teenagers are being warned about the dangers of open water

Don’t risk your life by swimming in canals and rivers this summer – that’s the message from firefighters in Northamptonshire.

Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Week was launched yesterday (Monday, Apirl 13), and as part of the event Northamptonshire Fire Service is raising awareness of of Cold Water Shock, which numbs the muscles and can make it difficult to swim.

Even on a warm day, Cold Water Shock can affect strong swimmers in open water and causes fatalities every year.

It is a physical response that can not only affect your breathing, but will reduce muscle ability and can even lead to a heart attack.

Cold Water Shock is also known to have negative impacts on victims’ chances of survival, even if they are rescued from the water.

Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service brigade manager Dawn Whittaker said: “Whilst reservoirs, lakes, rivers and other inland waters may look safe and inviting, particularly on a warm day, there are also hidden dangers below the surface that could make you ill, hurt you and – at worst – could kill you.

“We do not want to stop people enjoying water, but we do want to ensure that people of all ages are more aware of the risks that can be presented in and beside open water.”

Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service held a public water safety day at Stanwick Lakes last Friday to raise awareness of the campaign and will also be visiting schools to spread the safety message.

Safety messages will also be shared on the brigade’s Facebook and Twitter accounts and members of the public are being encouraged to support the campaign by sharing or retweeting the safety message.

To find out more visit www.cfoa.org.uk/CFOADrowningPreventionWaterSafetyWeek.