Firefighters have underlined their plea to stay safe around water after specialist crews scrambled following reports of a man falling into the Grand Union Canal near Daventry on Sunday (July 18).
Water rescue teams from from Northampton and Wellingborough, plus two crews of firefighters from Daventry and Long Buckby attended along with East Midlands Ambulance paramedics.
They found man already out of the water by the time they arrived.
Six people are reported to have died in lakes and rivers across the country on Sunday — the hottest day of the year so far .
And temperatures are set to rise in the next few days with Met Office experts warning of heatwave conditions until Thursday.
Daniel Ewen, a crew manager at Wellingborough Fire Station, said: “Our shouts for water rescues do increase in the summer. A lot of people see beauty spots, lakes and rivers as somewhere to go and cool down and have a bit of fun.
“But they don’t necessarily recognise the dangers such as moving water, obstructions and things in the water that could trap them.
“It might be 15 or 16 degrees outside, but the water potentially could only be one to two degrees which could put someone into shock if they go into the water.” The Fire Service tips for staying safe around water include:
■ If you fall into cold water yourself, you can tire if you try to swim out and fight against the body shock. Don’t panic. Try and float on your back making a star shape, this could give you time for your breathing and your heart rate to calm down, and you may be able to manoeuvre to the side of the bank once the shock has passed.
■ Should you see either another person or an animal struggling in the water, you should not enter the water and try to rescue them yourself. The safest way to rescue people from the water is to use throw lines or throw some sort of flotation device such as an inflatable ball or a large water bottle. You should immediately call 999 and ask for the fire service.
■ Download the what3words app on your mobile phone, as the app makes it easy to share a specific location with emergency services by giving every three-metre square of the world a unique combination of three words.
■ Once you have called 999, our water rescue teams will attend the scene and work out the best way of conducting a rescue – this could be via a tethered swim with a rescuer attached to a line on the bank; using the yellow sled which allows the team to paddle out to the person in danger; or whether to use the motorised boat which allows four people to be deployed at quick speed.
Jo Gouldson, a community safety officer, added: “A lot of people, particularly younger people, might be jumping into rivers during the warm weather. We obviously think you should not be doing that, but if you’re going to go in assess whether you can get back out safely or not.
“Most riverside banks are quite steep and there are no shiny stairs to get you back out like there are at the swimming pool. You should also look at the water current before doing anything like this.”
For more water safety tips, head to our dedicated section on the website HERE.