Firefighters from South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue teamed up with Yorkshire Water to highlight the importance of water safety whilst showcasing their water rescue skills.
To support Drowning Prevention Week, the specialist water rescue team from Aston Park attended Underbank Reservoir last week. Crowds gathered at the open water sports centre to watch the firefighters demonstrate a general boat rescue as well as various techniques such as floating walkways and line bagging.
The purpose of this demonstration was to highlight the dangers associated with open water, especially as Summer approaches.
Around 400 people needlessly drown in the UK every year and thousands more suffer injury, some life changing, through near-drowning experiences. South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue works closely with communities to educate them of the dangers surrounding open waters – a key part of their prevention work.
Area Manager Steve Helps, Head of Prevention and Protection at South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue said, ““We regularly receive 999 calls in the summer about people getting into difficulty in water, so it’s only a matter of time before someone’s safety is really put at risk unless people listen to our advice.
“It can be tempting to cool off in the summer months, but stick to a swimming pool. Hundreds of people drown each year in the UK and places like rivers, lakes or flooded quarries are completely unsuitable for swimming as they hide a number of hidden dangers.”
Darren Lynch, Regional Raw Water Manager at Yorkshire Water said, “Reservoirs may look tempting to take a swim in but they can be killers and today’s practice rescue will hopefully raise awareness of these risks amongst young people. Cold water shock can lead to hyperventilation, increased blood pressure, breathing difficulties and heart attacks plus water temperatures remain just as cold in summer as in winter.”
Over 400 people die in the water every year in the UK, and firefighters are urging people to follow some basic rules to stay safe.
The dangers of open water are:
- The water can be much deeper than you expect • Rivers, lakes, canals and reservoirs are much colder than you think • Open water can carry water borne diseases, pollutants and bacteria • Cold water dramatically affects your ability to swim • There may be hidden currents, which can pull you under the water • You don’t know what lies beneath, like pieces of rubbish or reeds which can trap or injure you