Northamptonshire’s Fire and Rescue Service is urging families to talk about water safety with the summer holidays underway.
At least nine people drowned across the UK in June – including in rivers, lakes and reservoirs.
The Northants authority wants people to stay safe if they take a dip – and not get into unnecessary difficulty.
They’ve also released advice about what to do if you spot someone in difficulty which is as follows;
Dial 999 – ask for the fire service if you are inland, or the coastguard if you’re at the beach. Shout for help, and talk to the person to offer reassurance, but don’t go into the water yourself – you risk becoming a casualty too
Without endangering yourself, see if you can reach out to the person with a branch, pole or item of clothing – lie down on the bank to keep yourself secure
Alternatively, throw them something that will float, like a life buoy, empty and capped drinks bottle or a ball
Keep looking at and talking to them – ask them to look at you, or see if they can swim or propel themselves to safety
What to do if you fall in
The shock of cold water can make swimming difficult and make it harder to get out. Average UK water temperatures are between 10-15°C, even in summer. This is chilly enough to cause cold water shock, making you gasp uncontrollably and breathe in water, which can quickly lead to drowning. If you fall into water, the RNLI has this advice:
Try to remain calm and fight the natural instinct to swim until the risk of cold water shock passes – this is usually at least 90 seconds
Spread your arms and legs and float on your back until you can control your breathing
Only when your breathing is under control should you shout for help or swim to safety