'Don't take the risk' warning against open water swimming as temperatures rise again in Wakefield

Wakefield Council say blue green algae is not present at Pugneys Country Park.Wakefield Council say blue green algae is not present at Pugneys Country Park.
Wakefield Council say blue green algae is not present at Pugneys Country Park.
Blue green algae at Pugneys Country Park ‘is not present’, say the council, as a warning is issued about swimming in open water as temperatures rise today.

Natalie Palmer, Corporate Director for Resources at Wakefield Council said reports have been checked about blue green algae at Pugneys and it is ‘not present at this time’.

She said:“We put up signs as a precaution while we carry out these checks and we’ll continue to do this regularly.

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“Algae is a natural occurrence that thrives in bright sunshine and still weather conditions. It naturally disperses over time."

Green algae can cause rashes and irritation in humans, and can be toxic if ingested by animals, even in small quantities.

She also reiterated the warning of swimming in open water as temperatures are set to hit 26C again today in Wakefield.

Previous hot and sunny weather has seen people risking their lives by swimming in open water, despite signs warning them to stay away.

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She said: “As always we urge people to not swim in open water as the water is very cold, deep and dangerous.”

Hidden dangers can lurk beneath the surface of ponds, lakes and flooded quarries, such as discarded waste which can trap people, as well as slippery rocks and sudden changes in water depth.

Anything below 15ºC is defined as cold water and can seriously affect your breathing and movement, so the risk is significant all year round, even on hot days, and even for strong swimmers.

Submerged strainers, these are things that water can pass through but a person would get stuck such as tree branches, rubbish, even vehicles that may have been washed downstream. These may not be visible due to the depth or clarity of the water.

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Undercurrents, even though it may appear to be still, static water on the surface, there could potentially be undercurrents that have the ability to pin individuals to the bottom of the riverbed.

Weirs are to be avoided at all costs. The biggest danger is at the bottom in the form of a ‘stopper.’ Here the recirculating current pulls you back towards the falls and pushes you under the water. In some cases, these are impossible to escape.

NEVER be tempted to jump in yourself and rescue. Fire and Rescue crews have the training and equipment to help.

WYFRS say, if you get into difficulty in the water #FloatToLive:

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Take a minute - The initial effects of cold water pass in the less than a minute so don’t try and swim straight away. Relax and float - on your back to catch your breath. Try to get hold of something that will help you float

Keep calm - then call for help or swim to safety if you’re able

If you see someone in difficulty in the water call 999 and ask for fire.

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