Local ambulance service urges people to be safe around water
South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust is urging people to be safe around water.
On average, more than 400 people drown in the UK each year and around 60 of these are children and young people.
It's a sobering fact that more people drown in inland waters (rivers, canals, lakes, ponds and reservoirs) than in coastal waters or at sea and that some 22% of those who drown fall into the water by accident.
South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust's Operations Director Mark Ainsworth said:
'Inland waterways and the coast are popular destinations for people during the summer months, which can make them dangerous places. Traditionally ambulance service responses to open water rescues increase at this time of year as people attempt to cool off and then get into difficulty.
'It may be very appealing to jump into water to cool off on a hot summer's day but people need to be aware of how dangerous it really is. Water can look calm on the surface but contain unseen debris and, rivers in particular, can have treacherous undercurrents.
'Stay safe this summer and stay back from the edge of inland waters and never enter water anywhere after consuming alcohol.
'Although it is banned, people are also often tempted to swim in reservoirs without realising that there is automatic equipment located under the surface which can operate without warning and cause dangerous hidden currents.
'Furthermore, the temperature of deep water is much colder than people would expect and, even on a hot summer's day, rarely gets above freezing. This is cold enough to take your breath away, which is the body's natural reaction and cannot be controlled, possibly leading to panic and drowning. Cold can also make your arms and legs numb which means you can't control them to swim and can also lead to hypothermia - a serious reduction in body temperature - which can cause heart failure.'
Be Safe around water at home:
- always use self closing gates, fences and locks to prevent children from gaining access to pools of water
- securely cover all water storage tanks and drains
- empty paddling pools and buckets as soon as they have been used. Always turn paddling pools upside down once empty
- always supervise bath time (never leave children unattended). Empty the bath as soon as possible after use
- vulnerable adults and people who suffer from sudden seizures should consider using showers rather than baths.
For more information on being safe in, on and near water go to www.rlss.org.uk
Published 15 June 2012