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  1. ITV Report

Warning for swimmers ahead of Bank Holiday

The fire service have been carrying out rescue training. Credit: ITV Border

Cumbria Fire and Rescue service is warning people to stay safe around lakes and rivers ahead of the Bank Holiday weekend and school half term.

It's often a busy time for the emergency services as the lakes look inviting in the sun, but can be colder than expected in the deeper water.

Cold water shock can stop someone from being able to swim quickly, so the fire service is urging people to stay close to the shore and know how they'll get help if they come into trouble.

The cold water can bring your muscles into spasm so you can't swim properly so avoid places like quarries, reservoirs particularly where there's deep water or where there's undercurrent where we can't see them.

If you do want to be in the water take safety precautions: know the depth of the water, stay close to the shore. If you do want to go further out make sure you're accompanied, got the right equipment.

If you're looking after children keep them in the shallows. For older people avoid swimming with alcohol because that can affect your body particularly in the cold water.

– Martin Holroyd, Cumbria Fire & Rescue
The fire service have been carrying out rescue training. Credit: ITV Border
The fire service have been carrying out rescue training. Credit: ITV Border

Over 300 people drowned in the UK in the last recorded year, 2014. It's one of the main causes of accidental death in the UK.

Almost half of them (44%) were just doing an everyday activity like walking or running near water.

Senior officers say if someone gets into difficulty it's often too late by the time they arrive, so they're urging people to take the following advice.

  • Never fool around near water - you might trip and fall in
  • Take care on riverbanks - they may be slippery or unstable
  • Go with a friend if you're going swimming, fishing or boating
  • They can help - or get help - if you're in trouble in difficult water