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Ambulance Service Warns 'Stay Out and Stay Safe'

Following a recent spate of tragic incidents across the country, bosses at the region’s ambulance service are urging people to take extra care in and around open water during the warm weather. 

Every year the service is called to incidents across the region where people have attempted to cool off by swimming in rivers, reservoirs, ponds, quarries, lakes or canals and then get into difficulty and require emergency medical assistance. 

Traditionally these incidents occur when the warm weather sets in and when schools break up for the summer holidays as more people head to one of the region’s waterways to enjoy a day out.

Vince Larvin, Locality Director of Emergency Operations at the Trust, said: “Yorkshire’s many waterways are popular destinations for people during the summer months, which can make them dangerous places for those who don’t understand the risks they are taking.

“It may be very appealing to jump into the water to cool off on a warm summer’s day but people need to be aware of how dangerous this really is. Water can look calm on the surface but contain unseen debris and, rivers in particular, can have treacherous undercurrents. 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.

“The near-freezing temperature of deep water 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.
“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.

“Lives have already been lost this year across the UK 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