Be safe in and near water this summer, fire services plead

Group Commander Chris Parker, head of community fire safety at Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue.  Photo by Adam Fairbrother.
Group Commander Chris Parker, head of community fire safety at Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue. Photo by Adam Fairbrother.
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The danger of children and teenagers drowning in South Holland, the Deepings and Bourne have led to new safety warnings at the start of the school holidays.

Both Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Services have warned that people should be “water aware”, especially in hot weather, after figures from the Chief Fire Officer’s Association showed that about 400 people drown in the UK every year - one person every 20 hours.

Darren Stones, water rescue specialist at Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue, said: “With temperatures rising, people may be tempted to cool off with a swim in the local river, canal, lake or reservoir.

“The water may look really inviting but underneath the surface there can actually be lots of hazards, including bikes and shopping trollies for example.

“A quick dip can quickly turn into a disaster, especially as you will not know how deep the water is or how strong the currents are that can drag you away from the bank.”

The Chief Fire Officer’s Association’s own figures also showed that 44 per cent of people who drowned in 2014 had no intention of entering the water.

Mr Stones said: “Even when the sun is shining, the water is likely to be cold and can tire the most experienced swimmers.

“Apart from the risk of drowning, taking a plunge in unclean water could make you seriously ill and, in some cases, can be fatal.”

Group Commander Chris Parker, head of community fire safety at Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We don’t want to spoil people’s fun by telling them not to jump into rivers and lakes.

“But we do feel it is important to educate the community about the risk open water poses if you are not trained.”