NI Water and Armagh Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) are working together to put out a strong message to children and young people in the Armagh area to stay away from reservoirs and other bodies of water, including disused quarries, that are not open for public access.
The two bodies have been visiting post-primary schools in the area, and have recently attended St. Catherine’s College in the city, to warn of the dangers presented by disused quarries, reservoirs and other open bodies of water.
As the warm weather continues, the temptation is there for groups of children or young people to take a dip or bring boats and water equipment onto the water.
However, as Michael Bergin of NI Water explains, there is a very real danger lying beneath the water:
“Understandably, a reservoir or other body of water can look like the perfect place to cool down and have some fun with friends. However, below the calm surface lie some very real hidden dangers.
- Hidden strong undercurrents can drag you under or sweep even the strongest swimmer away from the edge.
- Weeds and plants can entangle you under the water and prevent you from resurfacing.
- Reservoir water is very deep and dangerously cold – particularly if you have consumed alcohol.
- Reservoirs and other water bodies can be in isolated places, therefore it is likely to be too late for help to arrive if you are in trouble.
“We would appeal to parents to explain to their children the dangers of playing in or around these areas.
“I am also urging the local community to be vigilant as NI Water is experiencing a growing problem of people vandalising our sites or damaging fencing around sites to gain access.”
Patricia Gibson, Manager of Armagh PCSP said: “During the school holidays, and in particular in hot weather, young people are putting themselves at risk of serious injury or even death by playing or swimming in or near abandoned quarries or reservoirs.
‘‘Sadly, fatalities are a constant danger in these circumstances. Abandoned quarries are often in remote places that are difficult for emergency services to get to and even in warm weather are a real threat to even the strongest of swimmers. The PCSP is working with local people who have lost loved ones in tragic drowning incidents on a campaign aimed at discouraging people from entering lakes or quarries so that no-one else has to say goodbye to someone they love. We are very pleased to be able to work in partnership with NI Water to promote this vital message to our key target audience – children and young people.
‘‘We want people to have a lovely, enjoyable summer, but a safe one too. Always be aware of the dangers and resist the temptation to play in reservoirs or abandoned quarries, or you may not live to regret it.’’
If any other school in the area would like to avail of this service, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.