WEST Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service joined forces with Yorkshire Water today to give a safety message at Halifax Sailing Club base Warley Moor Reservoir.
Despite the scorcher of a week, the weather did turn to rain, but firefighters were not deterred from carrying out their water rescue exercise, in their protective gear and life-jackets.
The exercise was designed to show a mock-up water rescue in support of the national Drowning Prevention Week run by the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) this week.
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service has been called to 32 water rescue incidents across the region in 2016/17 all types of open waterways.
Sadly four resulted in fatalities, 13 people were rescued with injuries and the rest were rescued without injury.
Martyn Greenwood, of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said:“Despite the inclement weather today we really hope that our water safety messages will get across to the
public, especially in light of the recent heatwave we have experienced.
“The Fire Service does not just put out fires. We are trained and equipped to carry out water rescues too. It’s very tempting in hot weather to enter the water to cool off but you can very easily get into difficulty as cold water shock takes control of the body. Please do take care if you are out and about over the Summer months near open water.”
In the UK, around 400 people die from drowning as a result of an accident in or around water. Nationally, the emergency services respond to over 100,000 water-related rescues, and flood events every year.
Darren Lynch, Regional Raw Water Manager at Yorkshire Water said: “We've seen recently the devastating impact that swimming in reservoirs can have and our thoughts are with the family and friends of the young man who tragically lost his life this week at Greenbooth reservoir in Rochdale.
“Even though the weather’s taken a turn for the worse today, we still want to highlight the dangers of swimming in reservoirs. They may look tempting to take a swim in but they can be killers and today's practice rescue will hopefully raise awareness of these risks amongst young people. Cold water shock can lead to hyperventilation, increased blood pressure, breathing difficulties and heart attacks plus water temperatures remain just as cold in summer as in winter.”