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Summer Water Safety

People are being urged to stay safe and not take risks around rivers, reservoirs and lochs this summer.

Scottish Water is also calling on children and parents to take particular care during the summer holidays and any spells of warm weather we might enjoy.

The latest figures show that, in 2014, a total of 338 people lost their lives to drowning in the UK.

Scottish Water has today launched a social media campaign #ReservoirSafety and a new video to highlight the importance of reservoir safety, which can be viewed online or on YouTube.
Peter Farrer, Scottish Water’s chief operating officer, said: “While everyone should enjoy their school holidays or take pleasure in the country’s beautiful lochs, rivers and reservoirs, it’s absolutely vital that they stay safe at all times.

“Safety is a serious issue as while the water may look harmless there are many hidden dangers. We need to ensure children, and parents, are aware of these hazards. We are reminding parents to keep their children safe and asking adults to act responsibly around watercourses.”

Dams, steep banks, spillways (overflows), deep cold water and underwater pipe work can present real hazards. And the majority of Scottish Water's reservoirs are situated in remote locations, meaning there is a lack of immediate assistance and mobile reception can be poor.

Elizabeth Lumsden, community safety manager at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) Scotland, said: “It is important to be vigilant around inland waters, such as rivers, lakes, lochs, quarries and reservoirs. That’s particularly true during periods of hot weather and school holidays. The water can be a lot colder than expected, which can lead to cold shock; in the worst case, water will be inhaled and the drowning process begins. There may also be strong currents and underwater debris that you cannot see from the bank.”

Scottish Water is one of 10 partners involved in the Go Safe Scotland online education resource that has been developed to provide young people in Scotland with a variety of key safety messages, one of which is water safety.

George Cairns, the chair of Go Safe Scotland, said: “We welcome Scottish Water’s initiative to raise awareness of water safety, particularly in the run-up to the summer holiday period. The Go Safe Scotland and other websites can be utilised by parents, teachers and indeed children to seek out the appropriate information to how to Go Safe this Summer around water.”

Scottish Water’s advice is also targeted at pet owners. One of the biggest concerns with dog owners is when their pet dives into water, chasing a ball or stick. The pet more often survives such incidents, but the owners, who have attempted to save them, sometimes don’t. Dogs need to be kept on a lead if they are being walked near reservoirs and other bodies of open water.

Meanwhile, the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS), the drowning prevention charity, is running its Drowning Prevention Week campaign from June 20-28.

RLSS UK Chief Executive Di Steer said: “There is no quick fix to prevent accidental drownings. We believe education to instil a change in behaviour is the only method that will have an impact on people now, as well as future generations, and help prevent these tragic deaths and accidents.

“As the UK’s drowning prevention charity, we work tirelessly to achieve this aim. But we can’t do it alone. We need everyone’s help to raise awareness about the reality of accidental drowning, and to get water safety at the forefront of people’s minds.”

If Scottish Water customers would like more information they can contact Scottish Water’s Customer Helpline on 0800 0778778 or the Scottish Water Website.

For more information on RoSPA visit their website.

For more information of the RLSS UK and its Drowning Prevention Week visit the RLSS Website or
online.

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