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Heat wave prompts water safety guidance

GREATER Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) wishes to remind the public of the dangers of swimming in open water after being called to a search for two young people in a river in Radcliffe on Saturday, June 30.

On the busiest weekend for GMFRS in many years, crews were called at 2.19pm to an Asda supermarket carpark on Pilkington Way in Radcliffe after a member of the public reported spotting a pair of children swimming in the River Irwell.

It also follows three drownings in the last month in Greater Manchester, and with the hot weather expected to continue, firefighters are urging people not to put themselves and others at risk.

Two fire engines from Whitefield and Salford and the Technical Response Unit from Ashton, as well as resources from North West Ambulance Service and Greater Manchester Police, spent time at the scene searching the water from the ground and the air.

After conducting extensive exercises both upstream and down, the two children were later found safe and well in their homes in the local area. GMFRS were detained at the scene for almost three hours.

Station Manager Stephen Jordan, who attended the incident, said: “The most important thing is that both children escaped from this emergency unharmed. However, the dangers of swimming in open water, particularly the River Irwell which is fast-flowing in places, must be communicated to young people and adults must ensure they understand.

“Since March 2016 we’ve rescued more than 86 people from open water, where 85% of accidental drownings occur. With such hot weather it’s very tempting to have a swim to cool off but the water can be as cold as 12°C, quickly causing even the strongest of swimmers to get into difficulties.

“The weekend just gone was one of the busiest on record, with an immense amount of resource committed to tackling very challenging moorland fires in Tameside and Bolton. It is vital that GMFRS are able to respond quickly and effectively to emergencies, and we ask the public to help us by thinking twice before undertaking this kind of foolish activity.”

If you see someone in difficulty in the water, tell somebody, preferably a lifeguard if there is one nearby. Alternatively use your mobile or go to the nearest telephone and dial 999, ask for the fire service at inland water sites and the Coastguard at the beach.

For further information about how to stay safe around water, please visit


Last update: 02/07/2018 09:56:12
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