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Dales reservoirs not the place to cool-off says water company

[Friday 09 June 2006]

AS the weathermen forecast a scorching weekend ahead, Yorkshire Water is urging people across the Dales and wider region to resist the temptation to swim in its reservoirs.

Reservoirs not the place to cool-off says water company

The company is warning that the apparently placid water may seem harmless and a great way to cool off - but, in reality, it's more treacherous than a fast-flowing river or even the sea.

Water temperature never rises much above 10 Celsius and the cold is a hidden killer. Although the swimmer may set out with confidence, within minutes of immersion the body will begin to close down.

Hyperventilation is one of the first signs of trouble as the metabolism speeds up to keep blood pumping around the body but it will only last a few minutes. After that, muscles will go into spasm as the body shuts down to protect the vital organs and the swimmer will begin to sink and then to inhale water. If help doesn't arrive within minutes, death is inevitable.

"Of course, we want people to enjoy the peace and tranquillity of our land and reservoirs, but we want them to go home safely having had a great day out," said catchment and recreation manager Geoff Lomas.

We would urge everyone who heads for the countryside this weekend to think of their safety first and resist the urge to take a plunge

Geoff Lomas - Yorkshire Water

"Sadly, two young men have lost their lives after deciding to go for a dip to cool off while visiting one of our sites and what started as a trip to the countryside ended in tragedy.

"Both incidents were also traumatic for the emergency services as, although they may be on the scene within minutes, they cannot enter the water until specialist equipment arrives. The reality is they can often only stand and watch.

"We would urge everyone who heads for the countryside this weekend to think of their safety first and resist the urge to take a plunge."

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