Scottish Water is reminding people of the dangers of drowning when you are near rivers, lochs and reservoirs during the summer. It is telling people in the North Lanarkshire area to play it safe after figures from the National Water Safety Forum show that hundreds of people accidentally drowned in 2012.
The statistics show that 371 people downed in the UK with 43 of them being young people under the age of 19. The majority of these tragedies (55 per cent) took place in inland waters such as reservoirs, ponds, streams, lakes, canals and rivers.
The Community Team Manager for Scottish Water, Mr. Bill Elliot, said he wishes to remind parents to keep their children safe around water and asks them to act responsibly. He stated:
While it is important that youngsters enjoy their school holidays and that people across Scotland take pleasure in the country’s beautiful lochs, rivers and reservoirs, it’s also vital that they stay safe.
His warning was backed up by The Royal Society For The Prevention Of Accidents. Their Community Safety Development Officer, Carlene McAvoy, said that people should be “extra vigilant” around waters as there is a rise in accidental drowning during periods of warm weather and school holidays. Caroline McAvoy also warned about going swimming in sites that are not properly approved. She said:
The water can be a lot colder than expected, which can lead to a swimmer going into cold shock; in the worst case, a swimmer will inhale water and the drowning process begins. There may also be strong currents and underwater debris that you cannot see from the bank, so don’t go alone, and consider how you are going to get out of the water before you get in – be honest about your swimming ability.
She says that the safest option is to stick to approved areas like beaches and swimming pools.
Scottish Water is one of ten companies involved in the online education program Go Safe Scotland. It was developed in order to provide young people in Scotland with safety advice including awareness about the dangers of downing. These messages also coincide with the Royal Life Saving Society’s launch of Drowning Prevention Week. The campaign, which is run by the charity, lasts between June 21st and 29th.
The Royal Life Saving Society said:
If everyone stopped to think about basic water safety and made some small changes to their behaviour, we are sure we could reduce the number of preventable, accidental drownings that happen every year in the UK.