Derbyshire fire service warns of danger of open water swimming

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Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service is supporting a campaign aimed at preventing drowning.

As part of Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Week, which runs until Sunday, fire services across the country are raising awareness of the issue of ‘cold water shock, which claims a number of lives every year.

In 2013, nationally, 669 people lost their lives in water related incidents - two and a half times more than the number killed in house fires.

Even on a warm day, water temperatures in reservoirs, quarries, lakes, rivers or canals can remain very cold and within a matter of minutes the physical shock it causes can make it difficult for people to swim.

Cold water shock causes hyperventilation, gasping for breath, an increased heart rate, uncontrollable shivering, muscle cramps and weakening muscles.

Swimmers are also being warned of hidden dangers lurking beneath the surface of water, which can trap people.

They are also being warned about fast flowing currents.

Group Manager Dean Gazzard, of Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “It’s so easy to be tempted by the lure of water, especially during the warmer weather, or when being egged on by friends, but I

cannot stress enough the danger that open water presents.

“From the cold water shock your body will experience, making it impossible to swim - to the items lurking beneath the water that you can become trapped in, or worse hit your head on, open water should never be the place to cool down or play in.

“Strong currents also add to the mix and can soon carry you away, pulling you under the water to drown.”

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