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Firefighters issue heatwave plea

WITH a heatwave set to hit Greater Manchester today, firefighters want everyone to enjoy the good weather safely by taking care around open waters and barbecues. 

Parts of the county are forecast to soar above 30 degrees celsius over the next 24 hours and while it may be tempting to cool off with a dip in a lake or reservoir, the consequences could be deadly. 

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The sunshine will doubtless lead to more barbecues and over the past few months, the county has seen a number of barbecue-related incidents so firefighters are now asking people to take extra care to ensure they stay safe.

Chair of the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority, Councillor David Acton, said: “As the weather heats up it’s nice to enjoy outdoor space with family and friends and while we don’t want to stop people enjoying themselves, we want people to stay safe.

“Last year our specialist water rescue units attended nearly 140 incidents where people had got into difficulty in or around water.  

“This is often due to people trying to swim in lakes or reservoirs – the water can be a lot colder than you think and this causes cold water shock. This means the body begins to shut down and you can lose the use of your limbs as your body attempts to protect the heart and vital organs, and this can be fatal. 

“Cold water shock happens to even the strongest of swimmers – swimming in a pool is not the same as swimming in open water, which also has hidden dangers lurking underneath such as rocks, barbed wire and even shopping trolleys.” 

Thirteen-year-old son Dylan Ramsay died when he got into difficulties swimming at a quarry in Lancashire in July 2011 – hear his story here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=UUSeJkboyggLYuoqjfKAv5Ug&v=TEYeryd9IrU&feature=player_detailpage 

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service’s Head of Prevention, Area Manager Wayne Shields, said: “We want to remind people about using barbecues safely and it’s really important that you allow barbecues to burn out naturally outdoors overnight before cleaning them out and putting them away in sheds etc.as they continue to burn for several hours after use. 

“Never use petrol or paraffin to revive a barbecue, avoid large amounts of alcohol if in charge of a barbecue, never leave a barbecue unattended, and never use a barbecue indoors or on a balcony – balconies are often enclosed and it’s easy for barbecues to get out of control and cause a fire.” 

For further barbecue safety advice, visit http://www.manchesterfire.gov.uk/fire_safety_advice/seasonal_safety/barbecue_safety.aspx 

The Met Office has issued a level two heatwave warning, predicting a 60 per cent chance of heatwave conditions between June 29 and July 3, 2015. 

Public Health England has issued the following advice:

  •        Try to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm
  •        Apply sunscreen of at least SPF15 with UVA protection
  •        Wear UV sunglasses, preferably wraparound, to reduce UV exposure to the eyes
  •        Wear light, loose-fitting cotton clothes, a hat and light scarf
  •        Drink lots of cool drinks
  •        Look out for others especially vulnerable groups such as older people, young children and babies and those with serious illnesses
  •        Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals

For more information on how to stay safe this summer, visit www.safe4summer.com

Last update: 23/03/2016 08:19:26
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