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Promoting Drowning Prevention and Water Safety week


North Wales Fire and Rescue Service is urging the public to stay safe as the weather gets warmer, and will be supporting Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Week which is taking place from 13-19 April 2015.

We all like to cool down as the summer months approach, but reservoirs, lakes, rivers and other inland water could risk you or the lives of your loved ones.

Even though inland bodies of water may look safe and inviting, particularly on a warm day, there are hidden dangers below the surface that could make you ill, hurt you, and - at worst - could kill you.

This year's campaign is focusing primarily on the issue of Cold Water Shock, something that causes a number of fatalities every year as young people - even those who are strong swimmers - are unaware of the effect that it can have on their ability to swim in open water.

Stuart Millington, Senior Fire Safety Manager, said: "No matter how warm the air is in April and May, inland bodies of water are unlikely to have warmed up, and the shock of cold water creates a physical response that can make it more difficult to swim, and can even cause death.

"Taking part in leisure activities in, and around, the water is great fun, and Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Week is not about stopping people enjoying this, but simply about raising awareness of potential risks and encouraging them to stay safe."

Sadly the majority of water related fatalities in young adults aged 16-30  in 2013 across the UK could have been prevented if simple measures were taken to avoid the fatal five issues:

1. Cold water shock - low water temperature can numb limbs and claim lives

2. Do you know what is in or under the water surface? There may be entrapment hazards, pollution, etc.

3. Currents or water conditions - includes floods, unknown depths, ice, riptides, eddies etc.

4. Alcohol consumption - don't swim if you have been drinking

5. Swimming Competency - don't assume because you can swim in a pool that you can deal with the challenges of open

The slogan for the campaign this year is 'Tell a friend. Save a friend' and North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, along with other partner agencies, are encouraging people to share information about cold water shock and to be aware of the risks around water.

Stuart continued: "Swimming in unknown waters and venturing in the locality of any open water can be very dangerous and I ask everyone to take extra care when near any water."

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