In this current hot weather, people are often tempted to cool down by taking a swim in reservoirs or rivers. However, cold water can be a killer, and we'd like to raise awareness of these risks amongst your school community. Cold water shock can lead to hyperventilation, increased blood pressure, breathing difficulties and heart attacks plus water temperatures remain just as cold in summer as in winter.
Please do not swim in Yorkshire Water reservoirs or other areas of open water – please use a designated venue such as a swimming pool or an area covered by a qualified lifeguard.
In addition to this message, we are supporting the ‘Float to Live’ safety message from the Royal National Life Saving Institute (RNLI). In their hard-hitting video, they deliver advice on how to react should you become stricken in cold water.
Everyone who falls unexpectedly into cold water wants to follow the same instinct, to swim hard and to fight the cold water. But when people fight it, chances are, they lose. Cold water shock makes you gasp uncontrollably and breathe in water, which can quickly lead to drowning.
If students find themselves unexpectedly in the water, the message is to float until the cold water shock has passed and they will be able to control their breathing and have a far better chance of staying alive.
It is important that we share water safety advice with our young people to prevent further incidents occurring and we would be grateful if you could share this advice with your students and wider school community.
West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service
- Yorkshire Water twitter
Further advice from West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service
Safety Advice for Dog Walkers
- Avoid throwing sticks or balls near water for dogs – they will go after it if they think you want it back even if you’ve thrown it too far or into dangerous water.
- Never enter the water to try and save a dog – the dog usually manages to scramble out.
- Even dogs that like swimming can usually only swim for short bursts – keep an eye of your dog and don’t let it enter the water if it’s older or tired.
- If your dog loves the water keep it on a lead and make sure you have control to prevent it jumping into hazardous or unsafe areas.
- Remember the wet riverbanks, steep edges or jagged rocks can make it hard for a dog to scramble out and be a slip risk for owners.
- Don’t lean into water and try and lift your dog out – you can topple in.
- Dogs can have cold water shock too.
- If your dog has struggled in the water it may have inhaled water and should see a vet as dogs can drown after the event if water has entered the lungs.
What to do if someone falls into deep water
- The first thing to do is call for help – straightaway. Call 999, ask for fire service and ambulance. The emergency services will need to know where you are. Accurate information can save precious minutes. If you have a smart phone and have location services or map tool enabled, this can help.
- Don’t hang up – stay on the line but try and continue to help the person if appropriate.
- Never ever enter the water to try and save someone. This usually ends up adding to the problem. If you go into the water you are likely to suffer from cold.
- Can the person help themselves? Shout to them ‘Swim to me’. The water can be disorientating. This can give them a focus.
- Look around for any lifesaving equipment. Depending on where you are there might be lifebelts or throw bags – use them. If they are attached to a rope make sure you have secured or are holding the end of the rope so you can pull them in.
- If there is no lifesaving equipment look at what else you can use. There may be something that can help them stay afloat – even an item such as a ball can help.
- You could attempt to reach out to them. Clothes such as scarves can be used to try and reach or a long stick. If you do this lie on the ground so your entire body is safely on the edge and reach out with your arm. Don’t stand up or lean over the water– you may get pulled in.
- Be mindful that if the water is cold the person may struggle to grasp an object or hold on when being pulled in.
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