Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) will be out and about at popular waterside spots this Bank Holiday Weekend to encourage people to safely enjoy themselves in and around the water.
With an extended weekend coming up alongside warmer weather, more people may be thinking of heading to water beauty spots across the county. And in recent weeks the Fire Service has been made aware of young people choosing to swim in spots of open water such as at Pitsford Reservoir and other areas in Northamptonshire.
NFRS is reminding people of the dangers that open water swimming can pose and the need to keep yourself safe. Even in warm weather, open water can be extremely cold and dangerous. While the sun may be out, water can still be below 15 degrees Celsius, and this can be enough to put your body into cold water shock and increase the risks of drowning.
Here are some tips on how to stay safe while swimming in the open water and avoid any incidents:
- Get to know where you are swimming and check the condition before going in
- Make sure you are properly equipped and beware of the cold
- Make sure someone knows where you have gone and why, and that you have the means to call for help, especially in remote locations
- Take note of local safety advice and respect the countryside, landowners and other users
- Download the what3words app on your phone so you can give specific location advice to emergency services if you get into trouble
- If you get stuck in the water with cold body shock, try and float on your back in a star shape and allow the shock to pass. Do not try and fight against it
- If you see another person or animal in the water, you should NOT enter water yourself to rescue them. Call 999 and ask for the fire service immediately
- In most cases an animal will make it back to safety, sadly this is not always the case for an owner
- Try and throw a floating device such as a throw line or an inflatable to help any people who are struggling in the water
Darren Carson, Prevention Team Leader at Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The weather is looking like it will be nice at the weekend, but taking part in unsupervised open water swimming is not worth the risk that it can potentially cause. There are plenty of supervised open water locations in the county that are safer to use, and these can be found online.
“Our crews will be out and about this weekend at some of the known open water swimming spots in Northamptonshire to promote water safety. And our Prevention Team is also heading to local schools and colleges to educate young people about the pitfalls of swimming in open water when unsupervised, and we hope that this will help to prevent any serious incidents occurring.”
The Prevention Team have also been working hard recently to deliver Waterside Responder training to waterside hospitality venues – allowing them to help in the safe rescue of people who are troubled in the water. If your business is interested in taking part, then please email DCarson@northantsfire.gov.uk
For even more water safety tips, head to our dedicated section at www.northantsfire.gov.uk/safety/waterandboatsafety