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‘Stay Out and Stay Safe’

02 July 2010

Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust is urging people to take extra care in and around open water this summer.

It comes following a recent spate of incidents across the county where people have required emergency medical attention after swimming in rivers, reservoirs, lakes and canals. And, with the hot weather set to continue and schools about to break up for the summer holidays this is only expected to increase. 

Keith Prior, Interim Director of A&E Operations for Yorkshire Ambulance service, said: “The county’s waterways are a popular destination for people during the summer months, which can make them dangerous places for those who take risks. Traditionally ambulance service call outs to open water rescues increase at this time of year as people attempt to cool off and then get into difficulty.

“Already this year ambulance clinicians have been called to many incidents across the county where people have not thought about their actions and endangered themselves by entering open water.

“It may be very appealing to jump into the 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.

“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.

“Several young lives have already been lost this summer in Yorkshire and we don’t want to see anyone else hurt or injured so the message is simple; enjoy the summer, stay out of open water and stay safe!”

Produced By: Corporate Communications Department