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Water Safety advice

Every year, and in particular during the warmer summer months, we receive reports of people jumping into rivers, canals, lakes, reservoirs and quarries, and getting into difficulty.

These are some of the dangers that you need to be aware of:
• Injury if jumping or diving into water which is shallower than it appears
• Deeper water than expected, which can increase the risk of drowning if you get into difficulty
• Cold temperatures, particularly in deeper water, which can make swimming difficult and make it harder to get out
• Open water can be very cold even on a hot summer’s day, leading to cramp and breathing difficulties
• River banks can be unstable and liable to collapse if you get too close to the edge
• If you are in the water the loose and slippery sides of quarries and banks can make if difficult to climb out
• There may be hidden obstacles or objects under the surface which could trap a person or cause injury
• Strong currents can rapidly sweep people away. They may be present even when the surface looks calm
• It is often difficult for the emergency services to access open water sites such as quarries and riverbanks off the beaten track.

Top Tips To Stay Safe
It is clear from all of the above that everyone needs to take extra care when in or near open water and to adhere to the following safety advice:
• Take notice of warning and guidance signs - water conditions are constantly changing
• Swim parallel with the shore, rather than away from it, and avoid drifting in currents
• Get out of the water as soon as you start to feel cold
• Alcohol and swimming should never be mixed
• If walking or running keep away from the water’s edge and supervise youngsters at all times
• Don’t use airbeds at open locations where they may be carried into deeper water and may not stay afloat
• Don’t swim near weirs, locks, pipes and sluices
• Only enter water where there is adequate supervision and rescue cover
• Wear recommended safety equipment - for example life jackets/helmets for canoeing
• Don’t jump/dive into open water unless you are sure of the depth and that there are no submerged hazards
• Getting trained in first aid, rescue and resuscitation techniques could save a life
• Ensure children know how to swim and that they do not enter the water alone.
For more advice on open water safety visit www.westmercia.police.uk/article/9841/Open-Water-Safety
Pass this information on to friends and family.

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Message Sent By
Phil Roberts
(Police, PCSO, Telford, Nedge SNT)

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