MFRS works with Canal & River Trust to give St Helens beauty spot a safety boost

Public safety at Carr Mill Dam in St Helens has had a boost thanks to the installation of three new safety throw lines.

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (MFRS) has worked closely with the Canal & River Trust charity - which cares for the beauty spot and 2,000 miles of waterways - to provide the most effective safety equipment for Carr Mill. Both are members of Merseyside Water Safety Forum and work alongside partners including the RNLI, Coastguard, police, local authorities and RLSS to raise awareness of water safety across the county.

The emergency throw lines are located on three separate display boards around the Dam and access to them can be gained quickly be phoning 999 for a punch code to release them for use.

Julia Shelley, area operations manager for the Canal & River, said: “Reservoirs and waterways can be appealing, particularly on hot summer days. However, our advice is never to go in for a swim. The water is icy cold most of the year round and even the strongest swimmer can easily get into difficulties.

“Carr Mill is a popular venue for watersports and angling. We hope these new safety throw lines will never have to be used but if the worst happens, and someone accidentally falls in, they could save someone’s life.”

Station Manager Steve Thomas, from MFRS, added: “I am very grateful to Julia and her team from the Canal & River Trust for installing these potentially lifesaving pieces of equipment. Members of the public should remain vigilant however and be very aware of the dangers of swimming in open water particularly relating to cold water shock even during spells of fine weather. I am very pleased that MFRS and the Canal & River Trust have been able to join forces as members of the Mersey Water Safety Forum and look forward to continued successes.”

Water safety advice:

• As temperatures rise, think twice before cooling off in a river, lake or in the sea. Open water swimming is very different to swimming in a pool and much more dangerous.
• There are no lifeguards to help you at rivers and lakes
• The water is often a lot colder than you expect and can affect your ability to swim – even if you are a good swimmer in a swimming pool. Sudden immersion can lead to cold water shock, which can cause gasping and intake of water. This is a common factor in drowning.
• Depth can be difficult to estimate
• You can get in, but can you get out? People often get into difficulty with steep sides and slimy banks
• What lies beneath the water? Debris under the water such as shopping trolleys, broken glass and cans can cause serious injury or trap you
• The water is untreated and can make you ill
• There may be hidden currents
• Never drink alcohol during or before swimming, or when doing water sports such as boating or jet skiing.
• Stay clear of the edge when walking or running near water. River banks and cliff edges may be unstable and give away – particularly after bad weather
• Be aware and take notice of any warning signs. They are there for a reason
• Know where you are – consider installing an OS locate app for your phone, or taking a map with you so you know exactly where you are
• Make sure you take a fully charged mobile phone and check your signal strength. Make sure you know who to call in an emergency
• Check your shoes and clothing are appropriate, even if you are just going to stretch your legs near water
• If you or someone else gets into trouble, dial 999 and ask for the Fire & Rescue Service (inland) or Coastguard (if near the coast).