Safest People, Safest Places

Drowning Prevention Week 2018

drowning prevention week

During Drowning Prevention Week CDDFRS would like to remind everyone of initial immersion cold water shock. If a person falls into cold water - their body's initial reaction is a 'gasp reflex' which can include hyperventilation and muscle spasms. This initial reaction can result in water inhalation as well as significant changes in heart rate and blood pressure. 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. 
How to avoid Cold Water Shock

  • Before jumping into water you should splash some cold water on your face. Just 10 – 15 seconds of this helps your body get use to the lower temperature and the shock passes.
  • Then you should start swimming straight away so your body completely adjusts to the lower temperature.

These problems can be made worse if there are other factors like:

  • Underwater obstacles
  • Currents
  • Waves
  • Subsurface rocks etc. when jumping in from a height
  • Alcohol can give a false sense of ability quickly leading to people been overwhelmed 

CDDFRS are supporting both Durham County Council with their “Dying to be cool” campaign and the RNLI campaign “Respect the water”
If you need any further information please look on Co Durham & Darlington fire & Rescue Service web site to find information and links relating to the campaigns listed above.
CDDFRS do not want people to stop having fun during the summer, but we do want people to be safe when they are enjoying themselves.
 

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