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Visit the Staffordshire County Council newsroom homepage

Stay safe as temperatures soar

Posted on Tuesday 25th June 2024
Chase Open Water Swimmers newsroom

Residents in Staffordshire are being reminded of the dangers of cooling off in open water – as temperatures are set to remain high this week.

Temperatures are due to hit 27 degrees in some areas of the county, with the UK Health Security Agency issuing a Yellow Heat Health Alert until Thursday.

No matter how warm the day, large bodies of water stay very cold, with temperatures around 2C. This can cause cold water shock, which can lead to a sudden loss of consciousness. Conditions in open water can also change quite rapidly.

Catherine Mann, Assistant Director for Culture, Rural and Safer Communities at Staffordshire County Council said:

“After a really wet few weeks, it’s nice to finally see some sunny and warm conditions. It’s great that people can get out and about in the sunshine at our country parks, but whenever the temperature rises, the temptation to cool off in open water is always there. We want to remind people of the dangers of doing this—you can cool yourself down in other ways that won’t risk your life.”

Anthony Powell runs Chase Open Water Swimming club at Chasewater. They run supervised swimming sessions on Saturday mornings and Thursday evenings. Chasewater is a no-swimming lake outside of these supervised sessions.

He said:

“The sunshine always brings people out near water wanting to cool off, but as open water swimmers we must follow some very strict safety protocols. We follow NOWCA, which means all our swimmers have a safety wristband with a chip containing their emergency details and medical information. They also swim with a tow float, which is attached to the waist and keeps them afloat in case of difficulty, and wear a bright swim cap so we can keep an eye on them at all times.

“The thing about big open water places like Chasewater is that it can be glass-flat, mildly unsettled, then really choppy in an instant. Added to this, parts are shallow and others are deep, and it is difficult to tell the difference which can make it dangerous. Water temperatures can also be much lower than air temperatures, leading to cold-water shock which can be a killer. We’ve regularly had to help people who have got into difficulty.

“My advice would be to never cool off in open water. Instead, if you want to swim in open water, find a proper club with all of the proper safety protocols in place. That way, you can do it in a safe environment knowing that if you do get into difficulty, there are people on hand to help you.”

More information about the club can be found at www.chaseopenwater.com.

More warm weather advice can be found at the Met Office website.

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