Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

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Drowning Prevention Week

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service has urged people to stay safe around water this summer and think before taking a dip to cool off.

With Drowning Prevention Week running from June 20 to 26, ECFRS has warned people to think twice before stripping off and diving in lakes, ponds and the sea.

Senior Divisional Officer Julian Ashley said: “Every year young people drown because they took the foolish decision to swim in a lake, reservoir or quarry. We are urging everyone to be safe when they are near water and avoid swimming in inland water.

“No matter how warm it is the water in a quarry can remain cold all year round and the shock of the cold water is sometimes enough to drag people under.

“We have had to rescue people trapped as they attempt to climb down steep quarry walls to get to the water and youngsters injured as they dived in without knowing about underwater rocks and other hidden dangers.”

The Service has issued the following safety advice:

  • Conditions at open water sites change constantly, always look for warning and guidance signs;
  • Swim parallel with the shore, not away from it, and avoid drifting in the currents;
  • Do not enter fast flowing water and be aware of underwater hazards;
  • Get out of the water as soon as you start to feel cold and never enter the water after consuming alcohol;
  • Always wear a  lifejacket for activities on the water or at the water’s edge;
  • Take someone with you when you go into or near water. If something goes wrong they will be able to get help;
  • Never let your young children out of your reach;
  • Do not dive from rocks, piers or other structures.
  • If you get stuck in quicksand or mud do not stand up. Lie down, spread your weight, shout for help and move slowly in a breaststroke action towards the shore.
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