Mock rescue highlights dangers of open water

Fire crews from Pontefract area taking part in a mock water rescue at Pontefract Park.
Fire crews from Pontefract area taking part in a mock water rescue at Pontefract Park.

Firefighters carried out a mock water rescue in Pontefract Park to raise awareness of the dangers of open water.

Crews from Featherstone and Normanton fire stations along with staff from Yorkshire Ambulance Service and West Yorkshire Police took part in Exercise Windswept on Wednesday, April 15.

The exercise involved emergency services rescuing two people from the island in the park’s lake.

John Lloyd, assistant district commander, from West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said “The exercise was very successful. The emergency services worked well together and learned a lot from the experience”.

“With summer fast approaching and the warm weather, hopefully, on its way, it is very tempting for people, especially children, to play or take a dip in local ponds and lakes.

“Every year the emergency services attend incidents involving lakes and ponds and I would urge people to stay safe near open water.”

Wakefield Council has installed signs at all its lakes and ponds across the district which show a unique reference number that should be given if people need to ring the emergency services.

Mr Lloyd said: “These reference numbers are really important so we can get to the exact location of people who are stranded in open water as quickly as possible.

“They allow us to pinpoint the location especially in large parks that might have more than one lake or pond.”

Mussarat Suleman, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service’s district prevention manager for Wakefield, said:

“It is also important that youngsters are reminded about the dangers of open water and summer safety before the school holidays.”

Neil Favager, emergency planning manager at Wakefield Council, said: “It’s very important as the weather warms up that children and adults are aware of how to stay safe in and around water.

“This exercise is also important for testing out procedures and making sure that safety signs are clear and visible to people using parks and countryside areas with ponds and lakes, in our district.”

For more information and water safety advice visit the West Yorkshire Fire Service’s website at www. westyorksfire.gov.uk