Firefighters in Calderdale have been honing their water rescue skills to launch the national Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Week.
Calderdale has one of the largest collections of reservoirs within the West Yorkshire area along with canals and rivers that traverse through the towns and villages from Todmorden through to Halifax, Brighouse and beyond.
In the last five financial years West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) has carried out seven water rescues in the Calderdale district.
Assistant District Commander for Calderdale, Toby May, said: “This figure may seem like only a handful. However, one of these water rescue incidents tragically resulted in a fatality. For comparison, in the same five year period the Calderdale district recorded two fire fatalities.
“In the last week we have seen the onset of better weather and with that young and old will be getting out and about more in the great outdoors. The May Bank Holidays will provide this opportunity and it’s
important that youngsters are reminded about the risks of open water before the summer school holidays start.
“The different seasons bring different risk elements to water courses. Winter brings the danger of freezing temperatures and has led to Calderdale crews undertaking dangerous rescues involving members of the public stuck on ice.
“Summer also brings its challenges, as in warm weather, the cool water of a reservoir can be dangerously deceiving. The chill factor of the water mixed with other elements, such as the consumption of alcohol, leads to members of the public getting into difficulty and requiring rescuing.”