Firefighters back water campaign

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Firefighters in our district are getting behind a national campaign to promote safety around open water.

Kirklees fire and rescue staff are supporting the national Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Week, which started on Monday.

District Commander Chris Kirby said: “Fortunately, none of the water rescues we have carried out within the Kirklees district have resulted in fatalities. However, the risk of serious injury or drowning is always present where there is open water.

“In the last week we have seen the onset of better weather and with that young and old will be getting out and about more in the great outdoors.

“The May bank holidays will provide this opportunity and it’s important that youngsters are reminded about the risks of open water before the summer school holidays start.”

In the last five years West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service have had to rescue 12 people in danger from water across Kirklees. The Kirklees District Prevention team are visiting schools this week to drive home the message.

*What are the main open water risks?

Strong currents – water that looks calm can often hide strong currents beneath the surface. Reservoirs in particular can have pipes beneath the surface which draw water away, and the sea can also hide swells.

The cold and hyperventilation – when deaths occur, it is the temperature of the water which is often the most crucial factor.

Depth – it is often difficult to tell how deep open water is and youngsters can suddenly become out of their depth.

Hidden danger – it is easy to strike your head on something below the surface or become entangled.