Winter water safety should be top priority

Stay clear of iced over waterways this winter
Stay clear of iced over waterways this winter

Scottish Water have launched their latest winter safety campaign warning of the dangers associated with waterways and reservoirs.

The utility company are advising people to be vigilant and not to take risks around freezing cold rivers, reservoirs and lochs.

Scottish Water doesn’t want to spoil anyone’s fun, but are reminding parents to keep their children safe and act responsibly.

Dogs need to be kept on a lead if they are being walked near reservoirs and other bodies of open water.

They are also advising people about the hidden dangers in reservoirs across Scotland and urging them to be particularly careful if they visit one.

Reservoirs are man-made features which, because of their purpose, have unique dangers such as dams, spillways and hidden water intakes and other hazards common to natural bodies of water, for example reeds, strong currents, steep banks and deep cold water.

Also, as the majority of Scottish Water’s reservoirs are situated in remote locations, there is a lack of immediate assistance.

Scottish Water’s safety message is being supported by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).

Christie Burnett, community safety project officer for RoSPA Scotland, said: “RoSPA encourages everyone, particularly children, to get out and about and enjoy the wintry weather.

“But we also urge caution around frozen water. In 2014, there were unfortunately 40 accidental deaths in Scotland due to drowning or submersion.

“We know that it can be tempting to play or walk on frozen water, but there is simply no way of knowing whether it is going to hold your weight.

Police Scotland is also reinforcing Scottish Water’s safety message. Chief Superintendent Paul Main, from National Safer Communities said: “We all want to enjoy the Scottish countryside at this time of year, but people need to be informed about the hidden dangers that they hold, to ensure that they remain safe when outdoors.”