Fire service warns of dangers of frozen water

THE fire service is this week warning people of the extreme dangers of frozen ponds, lakes and rivers.

THE fire service is this week warning people of the extreme dangers of frozen ponds, lakes and rivers.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said during this cold spell a frozen water surface may look enticing as a skating opportunity, but can prove deadly.

Children are often most at risk as they frequently see an attraction to playing on ice, so the dangers of this activity will need to be explained to them.

Pet owners also need to be aware of the potential hazard especially when throwing sticks or balls. A dog can just as easily fall through thin ice or become stranded; which can often lead to people risking their own lives to reach them or children endangering themselves to rescue their pet.

Service specialist rescue advisor, station manager, Matt Johnson: "I attended an incident where a Jack Russell dog had fallen through ice on a frozen pond within the grounds of a private house near Moretonhampstead.

"The dog was recovered from the centre of the pond using an inflatable boat from the specialist rescue appliance and crews wore protective dry suits, buoyancy aids and thermal under-suits.

Most Read

"Unfortunately due to the extreme cold the dog had drowned, so I would like to warn dog owners and parents to take extra care during this cold weather to prevent their pets and children going onto frozen water as although ice may look thick and strong, it may not bear even a light weight and people often under-estimate how quickly very cold water will kill.

"People should also be warned not to enter water to rescue their pets as cold water incapacitates instantly and the cold temperature quickly paralyses even the strongest of swimmers."

The fire brigade offered the following advice:

* Do not go onto ice-covered lakes, ponds or rivers - it's not safe!

* In the event of entering icy water, hypothermia is likely to set in very quickly reducing the ability to get out safely.

* The ice closest to the bank may appear to be thick, but it becomes thinner towards the middle.

* If a dog or another animal falls through the ice, do not go to its rescue, if the ice did not support the animal it will not take your weight.

* Do not endanger yourself; always call the Emergency Services on 999 it's a free call from any phone.