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Water warning for Lichfield and Burntwood residents

People in Lichfield and Burntwood are being urged to take care around open water across the region.

The warning cmes from West Midlands Ambulance Service after a number of incidents where people have needed emergency medical attention after swimming in rivers, reservoirs, lakes and canals.

Spokesman Mark Gough said:

“The region’s waterways are a popular destination for people during the summer months.  There is nothing better than sitting by the river or having a picnic with friends and family on a warm summers day. Unfortunately, too many people also attempt to cool off in the water and end up getting into difficulty.

“Traditionally ambulance service call outs to open water rescues increase during the summer months.  Tragically dozens of people die in water accidents each year – the vast majority of these accidents happen in inland waterways such as rivers, canals and lakes.

“Already this year ambulance staff have been called to incidents where people have not thought about their actions and endangered themselves by entering open water. It may be very appealing to jump into the water to cool off on a hot summer’s day but people need to be aware of how dangerous it really is.  Water can look calm on the surface but contain unseen debris and, rivers in particular, can have strong undercurrents.”

And it’s not just the danger of deep water and strong currents that cause problems for people.

Mr Gough continued:

“The temperature of deep water is much colder than people would expect even on a hot summer’s day.  It is cold enough to take your breath away, which is the body’s natural reaction and cannot be controlled, possibly leading to panic and drowning.  Cold can also make your arms and legs numb which means you can’t control them to swim and can also lead to hypothermia which can cause heart failure.

“Several young lives have been lost across the country this summer already.  We don’t want to see anyone else hurt or injured in this area, so the message is simple – enjoy the summer but stay out of open water and stay safe.”

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