YORKSHIRE Water and Fire and Rescue Services are reminding people of the dangers of entering open water as part of the Royal Life Saving Society’s Drowning Prevention Week.

The warning comes after three water-related deaths in the region in recent weeks.

Gaynor Craigie, head of land and property at Yorkshire Water, said: “Sadly, a number of tragic incidents across our region in recent weeks have starkly illustrated the dangers open water poses.

“We know that warmer weather increases the temptation for people to enter the water to cool off, but we would urge everyone not to put themselves at risk by getting into open water, even if they are a strong swimmer, as unseen dangers can lead to serious difficulties.”

Open water is extremely cold, even on warm days, and can cause cold water shock that may lead to hyperventilation, increased blood pressure, breathing difficulties and ultimately death.

Unseen dangers under the water, such as objects or strong currents associated with machinery present in reservoirs, are also a potential hazard for people choosing to enter the water.

Benjy Bush, district commander for Bradford, added: “Unfortunately, during periods of warm weather we tend to see figures for water rescues rise with people entering canals, rivers or reservoirs to cool down and swim which can be a very tempting thing to do.

“However, there are hidden dangers, and we would urge members of the public to think twice before entering due the potential unseen hazards and risks. The Fire Service has crews specially trained in water rescue so if you are out and about and see someone in trouble in the water then dial 999 and ask for the Fire Service.”

If people do see someone in the water who requires help, call 999 and ask for the Fire Service immediately – as crews are trained and equipped to deal with such incidents.