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People warned of dangers of playing on frozen lakes and ponds

Posted on Monday 12th December 2022
Knypersley resevoir 1 NR

Generic image of a reservoir

People in Staffordshire are being reminded about the dangers of playing near or on frozen bodies of water.

The warning comes following the tragic deaths of three young boys after falling into an icy lake in Solihull.

Playing on frozen lakes, ponds, canals or reservoirs may seem tempting but this is extremely dangerous. There is no way to tell how thick the ice is and there is a serious risk of falling through. Furthermore, large bodies of water are extremely cold and that can cause cold water shock, which can lead to a sudden loss of consciousness.

Parents are also being asked to talk to their children about the dangers when near bodies of water and to stay away.

Staffordshire County Council’s Communities leader, Victoria Wilson said:

We are all deeply saddened with the deaths of the three boys in Solihull and our thoughts are very much with their families and friends.

We know it can be tempting to play near or on frozen lakes and ponds but I want to remind people that this can be extremely dangerous. There is no way of telling how thick the ice is and the water underneath will be freezing. I would urge parents and carers to teach children not to play or go on to any waters under any circumstances.”

Rob Barber, Chief Fire Officer at Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, said:

We offer our sincere condolences to the family and friends of the boys that have tragically died in Solihull.

Frozen lakes, ponds, canals and reservoirs can look picturesque, but they can be extremely dangerous.

We would ask parents and carers to remind their children of the dangers of ice, and why they must keep off it.”

Some tips on staying safe near frozen lakes from the Royal Life Saving Society include:
• Children should not go on the ice under any circumstances
• Stay away from the edge of bodies of water as uneven terrain can make slips and falls more likely
• Whenever possible, stick to well-lit routes away from water
• Keep dogs on a lead when they're near the ice, and don't throw sticks or toys onto the ice
• If a pet falls in, do not go into the ice or water to rescue them, move somewhere where the dog can climb out and call them to you

If you see someone fall through the ice:
• Shout for assistance; get help also by phoning the emergency services (call 999 or 112).
• Do not walk or climb onto the ice to attempt a rescue.
• Shout to the casualty to ‘keep still’ and offer reassurance to keep them calm.
• Try and reach them from the bank using a rope, pole, tree branch, clothing tied together or anything else which can extend your reach.
• When reaching from the bank, lie down to avoid being pulled onto the ice – this spreads your weight more evenly.
• If you cannot reach them, slide something which floats, such as a plastic bottle or football, across the ice for them to hold onto to stay afloat whilst help is on the way.

Further advice is available at Royal Life Saving Society.

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