Ambulance service urges people to take care around water

EAST Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) is urging people to take extra care in and around open water

over the school holidays.

Every year EMAS is called to a number of incidents where people have required emergency medical attention

after swimming in rivers, reservoirs, ponds, quarries, lakes or canals.

Traditionally these incidents occur when the warm weather sets in as schools break up for the summer holidays.

This is when more people head to our favourite waterways to enjoy a day out.

David Williams, Deputy Director of Operations at EMAS, said: “Our many local waterways are popular

destinations for people during the summer months, but they can be dangerous places for those who take risks.

“Traditionally ambulance service call outs to open water rescues increase during the summer as people attempt

to cool off and then get into difficulty.

“Based on our experience in previous summers, sadly we know that we will be called to incidents where people

have not thought about their actions and have endangered themselves by entering open water.

“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 it can be. Water can look calm on the surface but contain unseen debris and rivers can

have treacherous undercurrents.

“Although it is banned, people are also often tempted to swim in reservoirs without realising that there is

machinery 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 cannot control them to swim and can also lead

to hypothermia - a serious reduction in body temperature - which can cause heart failure.

“Several lives have already been lost this year across the UK and at EMAS we do not want to see anyone else

hurt or injured.

“So our message to adults and children is simple: enjoy the summer, stay out of open water and stay safe!”