Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service
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AS the warm weather continues, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service is issuing warnings to anyone tempted to cool off with a swim in a river, canal, lake or reservoir.
The Service is regularly called to incidents where people get into difficulties in the water and with another hot weekend predicted, it is hoped people will think before they sink.
The warning is particularly relevant following the death of Jack Pullen, 16, who got into difficulties in the River Etherow in Broadbottom last week.
Assistant County Fire Officer Geoff Harris, GMFRS Director of Prevention, said: “Swimming in open waters is far different to swimming in a public pool. The temperature can claim your life in minutes – even if you are a strong swimmer.
“On entering the water the body goes through an automatic gasp reflex which can lead to water being breathed into the lungs.
“In cold water blood flows to the core of the body to protect vital organs, meaning muscles in the arms and legs don’t work well, which often leads to people getting into difficulties because they lose movement.
“The heart can also be affected as it works harder to pump blood throughout the body and because of the shock the body feels on entering the water. Hypothermia due to the temperatures is a real risk and many people have been known to hyperventilate, which can lead to unconsciousness.
“Furthermore, there is no supervision, no lifeguards on hand, no suitable steps to get in and out of the water and there is no way of knowing the depth of the water, the current or what lies beneath the surface. People can dive in and become trapped in weeds or even hit their heads on sharp objects.
“Quite often we find it is young people feeling pressure from friends to take risks around water. We would urge people to look after each other and think before getting involved. ”
GMFRS offers the following advice:
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