That “cooling” dip in open water could cost you your life, warn rescue chiefs

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PLUNGING into a lake, river or reservoir, even on a warm sunny day, could cause cold water shock and prove fatal, youngsters were warned today.

Rescue chiefs, in a bid to cut the tragic annual toll of drownings, are urging 16- to 30-year-olds to share the message that a cooling dip in open water is not worth the risk.

Dawn Whittaker of the Chief Fire Officers’ Association said: “There are hidden dangers below the surface that could make you ill, hurt you, and – at worst – could kill you.

Gladhouse Reservoir where the tragedy happened
Even on a warm, sunny day, the water in a reservoir can be cold enough to kill

“Cold water shock is a physical response that can not only affect your breathing, but will reduce your muscle ability and can even lead to a heart attack.

“Moving water, such as rivers, may look calm but may have strong currents below the surface which can carry even strong swimmers into danger.

“And, of course, from out of the water, or above, you may not be able to see dangerous obstructions such as large rocks or dead branches that can cause you injury.”

She added: “You may also want to consider the fact that open water is untreated, and may be polluted with bacteria and algae that can give you stomach upsets, or even with organisms that can cause a number of nasty illnesses including Weil’s Disease, Trachoma and Whipworm.”

The CFOA’s Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Week 2015 runs until April 19, during which young people are being asked to ‘Tell a Friend. Save a Friend’

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