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Stay safe, stay out of quarries

 Stay safe stay out of quarries

People do not appreciate that the water in a quarry can be extremely cold even after a period of prolonged warm weather. Cold water can produce a reflex action where swimmers inhale water into their lungs. This reflex can occur when swimmers encounter an area of cold water or jump into water from a rock face. Cold water also causes the muscles to tire far more rapidly increasing the potential for a swimmer to get into difficulty.

“In addition to extremely cold water, other unexpected hazards may be present in a quarry lake. The water is often very deep and sides can be steep and difficult to exit. Underwater pumps, weeds that can entangle legs, concealed obstructions such as old machinery, or the high alkalinity of the water in some limestone quarries, all add to the dangers.

Every year, in the UK, around 400 people die from drowning as a result of an accident in or around water. Many of these deaths are as a result of simple everyday mistakes, such as a trip or fall into water, or misjudgements such as underestimating the effect of swimming in cold open water unprepared can have. People should be able to enjoy adventurous activities but it is important that they understand the risks they are taking and take appropriate actions to mitigate them.

Every year the emergency services are involved in rescuing members of the public who have got into difficulty in quarries. Apart from water related incidents, other typical rescues involve people who have become stuck on or fallen over quarry faces, young people being buried in sand whilst tunnelling or playing on stock piles, individuals stuck and sinking into settling ponds and riders injured on trial bikes.

“Please do not ignore warning signs in quarries and other similar industrial sites, these signs are there to help protect you from hazards that may not be immediately obvious.”


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