Help Prevent Drownings In Quarries

As young people begin their summer holidays, MPA, the trade association for the UK quarrying industry, is enhancing its campaign to help prevent drownings in quarries, reservoirs and other open water.

It is has already written to schools located near high risk sites and, through local media and its members activities, is encouraging members of the public to share safety messages with their family and friends. A children’s radio station Fun Kids Radio will also be broadcasting safety messages and running a competition over the summer holidays.

Over the last 6 weeks there have been a number of tragic drownings in quarry lakes, reservoirs, canals and other, similar man-made bodies of open water. All too often, these tragedies occur when people are engaged in what they perceive as harmless fun, either cooling off in the water or playing near the water’s edge.

Man-made water bodies like quarry lakes and reservoirs can be extremely deep, have sudden changes in water depth, be difficult to exit and conceal a range of hazards such as pumps, entangling weeds, rocks and old machinery. Quarry faces and edges can be unstable and suddenly give way, resulting in falls into water and also making it more difficult to get oneself back onto dry land.

The water in quarry lakes and reservoirs can also be extremely cold, even after a long hot spell. At 15C and below, the body can experience COLD WATER SHOCK when immersed in water, this results in a sudden, involuntary inhalation of water into the lungs which can be deadly. The cold water can also cause even strong swimmers to tire quickly, become breathless and potentially disorientated.

Statistics show that nearly half the accidental drownings occur following an unexpected fall into water, cold water shock is a significant factor in many of these deaths. The RNLI is recommending that someone plunged into water initially float to give allowing their body to acclimatise to the cold water and to providing the time to calm down before attempting to exit the water.

The Mineral Products Association (MPA) activities are very much based on complementing and supporting the water safety campaigns being run by the RNLI, RLSS, the Emergency Services and other stakeholders with an interest in public safety. Collectively, we do not want to discourage members of the public from enjoying the water but would like people to be aware of the risks and choose to swim in areas that are safe.

To find out more, view the MPA campaign Facebook page Stay Safe Stay Out of Quarries or the RNLI website www.respectthewater.com and “share” this with others. Please also remember that warning signs and fences are there to help protect you and your family.

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