HWFRS warning over open-water swimming

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Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service wants people to be aware of the dangers of swimming in rivers and to take precautions.

It follows an incident on Wednesday when a woman in her 70s sadly died after going missing while swimming with friends in the River Avon at Cropthorne Mill in Fladbury.

Evesham Fire Station Watch Commander Kyle Annis said he had since noticed people swimming in the river by Eckington Bridge and also one solo swimmer near Evesham town centre.

Kyle said: “If you are going to go open-water swimming, we would ask people to go with somebody and not swim alone.

“Let someone know where you will be going and at what time you will be back.

“We would also ask people to use flotation devices which they can tow along with them.

“If they get into difficulty in the water, they can then at least grab hold of it.

“The dangers of swimming in rivers include cold-water shock, hidden currents and there tends to be a lot of debris in the water as well as the diseases it can carry.”

If in difficulty in the water, people are urged not to panic and to ‘Float to Live’.

This means leaning back in the water and spreading arms and legs to stay afloat and control the breathing.

When the effects of cold-water shock have passed, call out for help or swim to safety.

If someone is in trouble in water, call 999 and ask for the fire service.

For more advice on staying safe around water, see www.hwfire.org.uk/safety-and-advice/water-safety/.