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Don't let children swim in 'open-water locations', warns fire service
5:00pm Sunday 29th July 2012 in News
DEVON and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service has expressed concern that children are losing their lives swimming in 'open-water locations'.
Within the last three days, in two separate incidents, UK Fire and Rescue Services have been involved in the recovery of two teenagers who tragically lost their lives whilst swimming in a river and quarry.
A spokesman for the service said: "Whilst our thoughts go out to the families of those affected by these tragic incidents, Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service are urging parents and guardians to remain vigilant regarding the dangers posed to children at unsupervised ‘open-water locations’ such as quarries, lakes and canals."
With the school summer holidays and the sunny weather upon us, Station Manager Andy Justice said: “It’s natural for children and teenagers to gather near open-water locations to cool off, however analysis of drowning incidents suggest that most people have a poor level of awareness of safety issues in such environments.
“Anecdotal evidence suggests that people generally under-estimate the hazards presented by open-water and whilst the immediate dangers of drowning are apparent, guardians should also be mindful of the long term ill-health effects of Weil’s disease and other infectious diseases associated with rivers and canals.”
Other dangers include:
• Hidden currents •
It can be deep and difficult to estimate depth
• No lifeguards •
Weirs and other man made features i.e. locks
• Very cold temperatures - in the UK, even in the summer, the sea temperatures rarely exceed 15oC with inland lakes such as quarries being often colder
• Water pollution may make you ill
• It can be difficult to get out (steep slimy banks)
• There may be hidden rubbish like shopping trolleys or broken glass.
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