Stay away from Reservoirs
18 June 2013 11:29NI Water is putting out a strong message to children and young people in the Dungannon area to stay away from disused reservoirs and reservoirs that are not open for public access. This warning is particularly timely, as NI Water is aware of trespass activity, with evidence of barbeques and swimming activity at Altmore Dam, not far from Dungannon.
As the school holidays beckon, there is a temptation for children or young people to take a dip or bring boats and water equipment onto the water. However, as Michael Bergin, Health & Safety Manager at NI Water, explains, there is a very real danger lying beneath the water:
“Understandably, a reservoir or dam can look like the perfect place to cool down and have some fun with friends. Water may look safe, but it can be dangerous, which is why people need to learn to spot and keep away from dangers. You may swim well in a warm indoor pool, but that does not mean that you will be able to swim in cold water.
“The dangers of water include:
- Very cold temperatures: The water can be colder than you expect even in summer months.
- Hidden currents: there can be strong underwater currents, which can trouble even the most confident of swimmers.
- Reservoirs are often very deep: It is difficult to estimate depth and they can be deeper than you expect.
- There may be hidden debris or underwater hazards which can cause injury, including weeds and plants, which can entangle you under the water.
- It can be very difficult to get out (steep slimy banks).
- There are no lifeguards on duty.
“We would appeal to parents to explain to their children the dangers of playing in or around these areas. I am also urging the local community to be vigilant as NI Water is experiencing a growing problem of people vandalising sites or damaging fencing to gain access.”
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) is also supportive of this campaign.
Nathan Hazlewood, leisure information officer for RoSPA, said: “When the weather hots up, we understand the temptation to go swimming in a reservoir, but there are many more suitable supervised sites, These include beaches, lidos or swimming pools, although we appreciate that not everyone can get to these locations.
“Reservoirs have many hazards. Things to remember are that the water might be a lot colder and deeper than you expect, and there may be strong currents and underwater debris, which may lead to even the most experienced swimmer getting into difficulties.”
For more safety tips and advice, see RoSPA’s Water Safety for Children and Young People factsheet at: www.rospa.com/leisuresafety/adviceandinformation/watersafety/watersafety-children-young-people.aspx