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Warning on ‘extreme open water danger’ as heat wave continues

July 19, 2021
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Members of the public are being warned about the extreme danger of cooling off in lakes, rivers and reservoirs as the spell of hot weather continues.

With the sunny spell set to continue throughout the week ahead, Nottinghamshire Police and partners are urging individuals and families to avoid the many dangers posed by open water.

Nearly half of accidental drownings happen between the months of May and August and very often involve people took a spur-of-the-moment decision to enter the water.

That’s why the force has recently been supporting a week of water safety action by Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service and is again warning of the dangers posed by bodies of open water.

These include very cold temperatures, even in summer months, strong underwater currents and unexpected depth – particularly in reservoirs.

Other hazards such as debris, weeds, pumps and mechanical equipment can also lurk beneath the water.

The warning comes just weeks after a Nottinghamshire police officer saved the life of a 12-year-old girl who’d got into difficulty whilst swimming in the River Trent near County Hall.

Chief Superintendent Rob Griffin, responsible for community policing at Nottinghamshire Police, said: “It is really important that people stay away from open water as we really don’t want families to suffer the devastation of losing a loved one.

“Open water may look tempting on a hot day but it is often bitterly, surprisingly cold. This alone can lead people to experience medical emergencies or cause them to cramp up and immediately get into difficulties.

“It’s also worth remembering that if things do go wrong there may not be anyone available to come to your aid until it is too late. Lifeguards will not be on duty and police officers of course will not always be on hand to help.

“So as the hot weather continues and the school holidays approach I would ask parents to share these messages with their children and to avoid the temptation of entering the water themselves.”

Other organisations working together to help keep people safe around water this summer include those within Nottinghamshire’s Water Safety Partnership, the Canal & River Trust, Nottingham city, Gedling borough and Rushcliffe borough councils, the Open Water Education Network (OWEN), Holme Pierrepoint and Colwick Park. 

Area Manager Bryn Coleman, Head of Prevention and Protection at Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We know in this warm weather that some people might be tempted to go into the water to cool off.

“Open water can present many dangers as even though it is hot outside, water can often be very cold, causing cold water shock. Currents are often very strong and can get the better of even the strongest swimmers. This is why you should never ignore warnings signs indicating deep water and strong currents.

“Please enjoy the weather responsibly and remember in an emergency to call 999.”

As the hot weather continues members of the public are also being asked to keep a close eye on vulnerable neighbours and relatives, to drink plenty of water and to be mindful of the impact of the warm weather on their pets. People are also urged not to leave pets in cars.

Practical measures to reduce the heat in private homes includes closing blinds or curtains in rooms that face the sun.

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