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Stay Away from Reservoirs!

10 July 2015 13:24

Reservoirs and other water bodies can often look idyllic, a perfect place to spend a beautiful summer’s day; this can be particularly so as the warm weather and longer evenings continue.  But that calm exterior can carry real danger that all young people should be aware of.

In order to help make this summer safe for everyone, NI Water and Quarry Products Association NI have joined forces to put out a strong campaign message to the community, especially children and young people, to stay away from disused reservoirs, quarries and other bodies of water that are not usually open for public access.  This will involve a safety and awareness campaign, aimed primarily at young people, to highlight the dangers of reservoir and quarry water.

Part of this campaign involves a competition, open to all youth and community groups in Northern Ireland, to encourage safety around water.  Jointly organised by NI Water and Quarry Products Association NI, we encourage groups to showcase their creative talents to encourage water safety.  This can be by recording a video, designing a poster, staging a drama piece, or by any other creative means.  Entry is open to all youth and community groups across Northern Ireland, and we encourage everyone to get their creative juices flowing. Groups stand to win two iPads for use by their group, which could be of great use!

As Michael Bergin, Health and Safety Manager at NI Water, explains, there is a very real danger lying beneath the surface:  

“Understandably, a reservoir can look like the perfect place to cool down and have some fun with friends.  Water may look safe, but it can be very 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 and outlet pipes: there can be strong underwater currents, which can trouble even the most confident of swimmers. Powerful suction from these hidden outlet pipes can have disastrous consequences for those attempting to swim or play around reservoirs.

-    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.”  

Depending on format, competition entries can be emailed to watersafetycompetition@niwater.com or posted FAO: Water Safety Competition, Westland House, 40 Old Westland Road, Belfast, BT14 6TE.  These MUST arrive before 5pm on Friday 7 August 2015.  Winners will be at the discretion of the judges.  

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