Leisure chief's heatwave water and fire safety warning
Published 4th July 2018
Sandwell’s leisure chief has issued a warning to parents and families, urging them to be vigilant and aware of the dangers of swimming in the borough’s pools, lakes and canals during the current heatwave.
And he is also reminding people to take extra care when visiting parks and green spaces and not to discard cigarette butts or any items that could ignite extremely dry grass.
Councillor Bill Gavan, cabinet member for leisure, said: “We want to people to be aware of the risks of swimming in pools, lakes or canals however inviting they might seem during this ongoing spell of extremely hot weather.
“A lot of people, especially children, may not have experienced long periods of hot weather before, so we’re asking everyone to take extra care in our parks and green spaces across Sandwell.
“The unprecedented and ongoing hot weather brings potentially life-threatening risks with it. We are urging people to stay out of our pools, it may look safe, but it can be extremely dangerous. Just because you can swim well in a warm indoor pool doesn’t mean that you will be able to swim in cold water.
“If it’s a swim or a dip that you want, please go to one of our swimming centres to cool off and don’t risk your life or the life of a potential rescuer.
“I would also urge people to be extremely careful when discarding cigarette butts or any items that could ignite the extremely dry grass.”
Some dangers of swimming in outdoor pools, lakes, rivers and canals include:
- It can be very cold (even though the air temperature is very warm; the water may be very cold, this can lead to life-threatening severe cramp);
- It can be very deep;
- It is difficult to estimate the depth;
- There may be hidden currents;
- There may be hidden rubbish, such as shopping trolleys or broken glass;
- It may be polluted and may make you ill;
- It can be difficult to get out, especially if there are steep, slimy banks;
- There are no lifeguards.
Councillor Gavan also added that all pools at Sandwell Valley Country Park and parks had clear warning signs telling people of the dangers of entering the water and that extra signs had been put up around pools in the Country Park, and at Sheepwash and Warrens Hall Nature Reserves.
The council’s new team of Environmental Protection Officers will also be monitoring the pools to discourage people from swimming in them and raising awareness of the dangers.