East Herts school pupils warned of dangers of cold water swimming
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Police in Hertford took part in an assembly at Richard Hale Secondary School warning pupils about the dangers of swimming in open water as the weather turns warmer.
The Hertford Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) joined representatives from Lea Valley Regional Park, Hertfordshire’s Fire and Rescue Service and Herts Canal Trust, to deliver talks on water safety.
Local SNT officers will be working with partners throughout the summer to make sure young people in particular are aware of the dangers of swimming in cold open water lakes and rivers.
Sergeant Teresa Funes-Walker, from the East Herts SNT said: “As temperatures rise it may be tempting to cool off by taking a dip in cool inviting water, but it could be a potentially lethal decision. Open water swimming is prohibited in some bodies of water as it comes with some very real risks. It is almost impossible to determine the dangers that lie beneath the surface; you could become entangled in weeds or rubbish, contract a waterborne disease or be overpowered by the sudden extreme cold or strong undercurrent.
“Please, it’s not worth the risk. We really do not want to be knocking on your loved one’s door to give them devastating news about what would be an entirely preventable tragedy.”
The following advice about staying safe in a heatwave is from our emergency service partners at Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service:
Even on a very hot day, the water can be freezing. As soon as you enter the water you can lose your breath and experience what is called cold water shock. It makes it hard for you to swim and can lead to drowning.
There are many unseen dangers when swimming in a river, lake or canal. You can never know what dangers lie beneath the surface of open water, so it's better to wait for swimming pools to be open, or investigate whether local groups in your area run guided open water swimming.
If you come across a water emergency, dial 999 straight away. Don’t attempt to get in to the water yourself to rescue someone – the chances are that you’ll need to be rescued too.
Know your location so you can tell emergency services where you are. A great way to do this is to download the what3words app, which divides the world into 3 metre squares giving each location a unique address which will help 999 call handlers pinpoint your exact location in the event of an emergency. Search for it in your app store or visit what3words.com (opens in new window).