Fire service in water safety plea ahead of hot Bank Holiday weekend

Firefighters and prevention staff are urging public to take care around the water ahead of what is expected to be a hot Bank Holiday weekend.

Today (Friday) will see many schools across the region break up for half term while the rest of us may have made exciting plans for the Bank Holiday weekend.

But in recent weeks rising temperatures across the country have led to a number of tragic incidents where people have lost their lives when entering the water.

That includes two young people who drowned after entering water at High Eske Nature Reserve in North Yorkshire on Wednesday evening.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) say they have not been called to any rescues in recent weeks where lives could have been lost.

But they are urging families to take care around the water with hot weather arriving in the region over the Bank Holiday weekend and beginning of half term.

Station Manager Jonny Ramanayake, of TWFRS’s Prevention and Education team, said they don’t want any family to face the heart-break of losing a loved one.

He said: “The tragic deaths of the two young people in North Yorkshire this week is just one of a number of incidents where people have lost their lives in recent weeks.

“All of our thoughts are with the friends and families of those who have lost their lives and our priority is doing all we can to prevent anything like that happening here in Tyne and Wear.

“It may be hot, but the water can be icy cold, and we cannot stress enough the risks of cold-water shock, and the effect this has on even the most competent of swimmers.

“Please only consider entering water in controlled environments where there are lifeguards on duty, and do not go for a swim in rivers, lakes, or unsupervised bodies of water where there could be a number of hidden dangers.

“If you do see anyone in difficulty in the water then don’t enter the water. Instead call 999 and ask for the fire service if you are inland or the Coastguard if you are by the sea.

“If you get in difficulty yourself then a simple skill we ask everyone to remember is ‘Float to Live’. Simply lean back like a starfish and use your arms and legs to stay afloat.

“This will allow you to control your breathing, then call for help or swim to safety. The technique has been proven to save lives.”

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) are also urging anyone who may be drinking to avoid entering the water.

Alcohol can drastically impact on your ability to respond to cold-water shock and so they are pleading with the public to avoid walking near to water after a night out.

TWFRS say they will be working with key partners across the region in the coming days and weeks to keep communities safe.

Information about safety advice, including staying safe in the water, can be found on their website or the Respect The Water campaign website.