Warmer weather water safety advice issued


Its advisable to use supervised venues or swimming pools as they are much safer

Now the nicer weather has arrived the Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service has issued water safety advice amid concerns people might get into difficulty in the county’s waterways and lakes in an attempt to cool down.

They say its always advisable to use supervised venues or swimming pools as they are much safer.   In other places there could be hazards under the surface that may entrap a person or cause serious injury.

Safety precautions should include letting friends and family know your route near water and what time you should return, and carrying a whistle to draw attention if you do get into difficulties.

Even on a warm day, the water temperature could be very cold and anyone falling or jumping in could suffer a cold shock response.

Deb Forder, Safety Manager for Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service, said: “You gasp for air meaning that you could breathe in water, and you hyperventilate.   This over-breathing can make you lightheaded and, as your brain is deprived of oxygen, you may become disoriented.

“Your body’s cold shock response, which speeds up the heart rate, may conflict with the diving response, which does the opposite, causing your heart to go into abnormal rhythms, which can cause sudden death.”

People falling into water should remember to try to relax, leaning back and float (see picture) until they can control their breathing.

Anyone spotting someone in trouble in the water should call 999 or 112 and shout for help.   They shouldn’t enter the water themselves but instead throw in something that will float.

Water safety advice

  • Reservoirs, lakes, rivers and other inland water may look safe and inviting, particularly on a warm day. But there are hidden dangers below the surface that could make people ill, cause injury, even kill.
  • Even on a warm day, the temperature of the water in a reservoir, quarry or lake can remain very cold. The low water temperature can numb limbs and claim lives.
  • From the surface, it is not always possible to see what is under the water. This could be anything from large rocks to machinery, from shopping trolleys to branches and even fish hooks or broken fishing line, all of which could cause injury.
  • Moving water, such as rivers, might look calm but there could be strong currents below the surface. Even reservoirs have currents, caused by working machinery. Whether or not someone is a strong swimmer, currents can carry them into danger.

Published: by Banbury FM Newsteam

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