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Greater Manchester Fire Service warn the dangers of open water

With temperatures continuing to soar and more people venturing to local beauty spots, the discussion around danger of open water has increased.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service are urging people to stay safe by not swimming or jumping into open water after 10 people have lost their lives, or remain missing, in open water across the UK since the heatwave began.

Shock spread across Manchester when the news that a 19-year-old man had died after getting into difficulties in a canal at Salford Quays. The man’s body was pulled from the water three hours after emergency crews were dispatched to the scene.

Stories like this are becoming all too common and with the hotter temperatures tempting more into the waters, more must be done to ensure the safety of locals.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service’s Head of Prevention, Area Manager Paul Duggan said that no matter how strong of a swimmer you are, there is still danger of partaking in this activity.

“Our thoughts are with the families and friends of all those who have lost loved ones in open water, particularly over the past week or so, since the prolonged hot weather arrived.

“We urge people not to go into open water, no matter how hot it is outside. Even strong swimmers can suffer from Cold Water Shock and it can kill you in just 60 seconds. You also never know how unpredictable under-water currents can be, or what is lurking beneath the surface – people have drowned after getting tangled up in undergrowth and other things hiding in the water.

“We don’t want to stop people having fun, though safety is key here as we continue with our mission to educate people of the dangers that come with going into open water,” he said.

The fire service are supporting the first ever World Drowning Prevention Day, in a bid to raise further awareness of the dangers of open water and prevent accidental drownings. This has been organised by the World Health Organisation and will take place on Sunday July 25.

This campaign will see GMFRS working closely with family members and friends who have lost loved ones to accidental drowning, allowing them to share their ‘stories’ to prevent others having to go through what they have.

The second phase of the campaign sees new banners being put up in areas where young people have drowned or tend to visit with their friends, as well as at community fire stations across the city-region – with clear messages highlighting the dangers of open water.

Bespoke banners dedicated to those who have drowned in Greater Manchester’s waterways, and whose families are involved with the campaign, are also due to be put up at the River Etherow, Greenbooth Reservoir, and Debdale Park – where Jack Pullen, Paul Lawson and Mark Allen lost their lives.

You can read more on World Drowning Prevention Day here

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