Fire crews stage event to highlight dangers of open water

Pontefract Park
Pontefract Park

Firefighters will carry out a mock water rescue in Pontefract Park next week to raise awareness of the dangers of open waters.

Crews from across the district, along with staff from Yorkshire Ambulance Service and West Yorkshire Police, will take part in Exercise Windswept on Wednesday.

The exercise will involve emergency services rescuing two people from the island of the park’s lake. Members of the public are invited to attend.

Mussarat Suleman, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service’s district prevention manager for Wakefield, said: “While reservoirs, lakes and rivers may look safe and inviting, there are many hidden dangers below the surface that could injure you or make you ill.

“With the onset of warmer weather and lighter evenings all we ask is that you consider the dangers of open water around the numerous waterways in the district.

“Simple steps such as taking notice of the signs and symbols near waterways can make a difference; they are there for your own safety.

“Ensure you let someone know where you are going and most importantly be aware of what to do in an emergency. It’s 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.”