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Dying to be cool?

Alert message sent 29/06/2020 09:09:00

Information sent on behalf of Durham Constabulary

Good morning Citizen

This month we have attended reports of young people jumping from Lumley Bridge into the River Wear, as such putting their lives and safety at risk. Whilst it might be a ‘cool thing to do’ the shock of jumping into cold water can kill you - it's as simple as that.

Now that the weather has cooled down this could be an opportunity to speak to your children and remind them of the dangers of "cold water shock?" Whilst I appreciate that it is the minority who cause problems, I feel that this information is relevant to everyone.

When the weather's hot and you're thinking about swimming in the river, or any other water, please make sure you know what the dangers are.
The shock of jumping into cold water can kill you - it's as simple as that. So please think twice.

What is Cold Water Shock?
When you're suddenly immersed in cold water, your body reacts involuntarily.
It can cause blood vessels in your skin to close making it harder for blood to flow around the body. Your heart then has to work harder and your blood pressure increases. In the worst cases you could even have a heart attack.
There's also a "gasp" response which means you could breathe in water. The rate you breathe can go up by as much as ten times.
All these reactions mean you can panic, get into difficulty and drown.

On average 400 people drown in the UK each year - more than half of these deaths occur in inland water like rivers, lakes and ponds.
You may swim well in a warm indoor pool, but that doesn't mean you can swim in cold water. Dangers of swimming in cold water include:
It is cold - cold water can kill you in less than a minute!
There may be hidden currents.
It is deep - and it can be difficult to estimate the depth of water.
There may may be hidden rubbish under the surface that can trap or cut.
It can be difficult to climb out - banks can be steep, slimy and crumble away.
It may be polluted, which could make you ill.

How to stay safe near water
Look out for water safety signs or beach flags to tell you when and where it is safe to use the water. Know what they mean and do what they tell you.
Never let your children go near water, without being accompanied by an adult. An adult can point out dangers or help if someone gets into trouble.
Never jump in or suddenly immerse yourself in cold water as the shock could kill you.
Learn how to help in an emergency - if you see someone in difficulty:
Go to the nearest telephone, dial 999 and ask for the Police, or the Coastguard at the beach.

Further information
If you have children that like to swim in open water, please make them aware of the dangers, sit down and watch Cameron's story on this link
Make sure this doesn't happen to you.
Message sent by
Brian Donnelly (Police, PCSO, West)

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