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Be Safe in the Water 

 

This video ‘Beneath the Surface’, made by Royal Life Saving Society, shows real stories from families who have lost loved ones due to accidental drowning:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYUp4A43370

Know the dangers

Cold water shock is one of the biggest factors in causing people to get into trouble in the water. Not to be confused with hypothermia, which sets in when your body temperature drops below 35C, cold water shock is your body’s instinctive reaction when immersed in cold water. At between 10 - 15° the waters around the UK are officially cold.  When your body enters this cold environment there are a number of physiological responses. First of all closure of the blood vessels in the skin which results in increased resistance to blood flow. The heart then has to work harder and blood pressure increases. At the same time there is a "gasp" response which can result in water being breathed rather than air. This can then cause panic and makes it difficult to stay above the water and to prevent taking deep breaths when underwater.

There are also dangers under the water’s surface? Entrapments such as rubbish or weeds could ensnare your feet and make it hard for you to swim, causing you to drown. You could also swallow polluted water which might have adverse affects upon your health later on.

Currents and water conditions could make it harder for you to swim in rivers and open water that otherwise might look deceptively shallow. Hidden currents can easily knock a grown adult off their feet or drag them under the water’s surface. Steep or slippery banks also make it difficult to leave the water, especially if you’re tired.

NEVER swim under the influence of alcohol. Your perception of your own abilities can be greatly impaired and your motor skills will be affected making it difficult to swim.

Swimming competency. Don’t assume that because you can swim in a swimming pool you can cope with the challenges of open water. There are no lifeguards to help if you get into trouble!!!

If you spot someone in trouble in the water

Keep safe – DON’T put yourself in danger. You are no use to the person if you jump in and get into trouble yourself

Get more help – Shout for others nearby. Call 999 on your phone

Don’t lose sight of them – The Fire and Rescue Service will want to know where the person was last seen

Talk – Try to encourage them to make for a safe place

Try to…

Reach – them with a rope, branch, paddle, belt or anything close to hand

Throw – A rope or piece of rescue equipment like a lifebuoy to help keep them afloat. Anything that floats like a ball or plastic bottle could be thrown to help keep them afloat

Encourage – Anyone who has been in trouble in the water to go to hospital. Keep them warm until the ambulance arrives

For more info visit these links:

http://www.rlss.org.uk/

http://rnli.org/Pages/default.aspx

www.rospa.com/leisuresafety/watersafety/