Hard-hitting film launched to warn teenagers about reservoir swimming (From The Westmorland Gazette)
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Hard-hitting film launched to warn teenagers about reservoir swimming
11:12am Monday 18th June 2012 in News
A HARD-hitting film has been launched today to warn teenagers in Cumbria about the potentially fatal consequences of swimming in reservoirs and other forms of open water such as quarries.
The Not a Game film from water company United Utilities is backed by Cumbria Fire & Rescue, as well as other emergency service organisations from across the region such as the North West Ambulance Service. You can see it at www.notagame.co.uk.
Shot from the perspective of a teenage boy who decides to swim at a local reservoir, the film uses video gaming style graphics to accompany actions as they unfold on screen, culminating in images which show him getting into difficulties and subsequently drowning.
United Utilities' Cumbria catchment manager Paul Phillips, said: "If you lose a life in a computer game you just start again. But real life isn’t like that. By combining realistic footage of a drowning incident with gaming style graphics, we wanted to hit home with teenagers that swimming in reservoirs is no game.
“Far from being fun, it can be fatal and there are no second chances.”
Not a Game has been praised by emergency service teams across the North West, anxious to avoid unnecessary teenage tragedy this summer.
Adrian Buckle, Head of Service Delivery for Cumbria Fire & Rescue, said: "Every year the emergency services have to respond to real life tragedies such as the one portrayed in the video, unfortunately the hidden danger of deep cold water is not understood, even on a hot summers day the hazard remains.
“People entering the water are not only risking their own lives but members of the public who may try to help and members of the emergency services who respond to the incident.”
In the past four years nine people have drowned in North West reservoirs and other bodies of water across the region, the most recent of which being 15-year-old Thomas Barton from Chorley who tragically died last month at Birkacre Brow in Yarrow Valley Park. Although there have been no fatalities at United Utilities reservoirs in recent years, the company is determined to lead the way in making sure people know about the dangers.
The North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) hopes that United Utilities’ film will help remind people of how real the dangers are.
Derek Cartwright, Director of Emergency Services, said: "We cannot stress enough about the dangers of swimming in open water. When we experience hot weather, 999 calls increase for incidents whereby people have either got injured jumping in the water or who found themselves in difficulty which can be life threatening, and unfortunately we have already seen the tragic death of a teenager in Chorley in these circumstances.
"I personally dealt with an incident in 2008 when a man innocently went for a swim in a reservoir and after getting into difficulty, he sadly lost his life. Soon after, I unexpectedly received a heartfelt letter from his devastated wife thanking me for my efforts in trying to revive him. When we hear stories like this in the media, it is a stark reminder to us all that one misjudgement of potential danger can have shattering consequences.”
Not a Game is also supported by industry organisations such as the Mineral Products Association (MPA) which runs a national ‘Stay Safe… Stay Out of Quarries’ campaign.
The MPA’s Elizabeth Clements said: "Young people are often not aware of the dangers presented by swimming or jumping in old quarries or reservoirs, and consequently see exploring such sites as exciting. That’s why raising awareness of how real the dangers can be is so important – we just want teenagers to stay safe this summer.”
As well as the film, United Utilities has produced extra resources to highlight the dangers involved, including a fact sheet from The One Show’s medical expert and practising GP, Dr Sarah Jarvis, explaining the medical facts behind the warnings. These can also be viewed at www.notagame.co.uk.
A competition to encourage the region’s school children to develop their own public safety awareness advert around this topic is also to be launched as part of the campaign.