Warning over frozen ponds and lakes this weekend


West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) would like to remind the public to take extra care if they are out and about enjoying the snow this weekend.

The region has felt the full force of the ‘Beast from the East’ and families will no doubt be out taking advantage of the snowfall with activities such as sledging and making snowmen this weekend – we can’t wait to see pictures of everyone having fun.

Fire Chiefs would like to remind people never to venture onto frozen lakes or ponds as thin ice can be incredibly dangerous and if anyone were to fall into freezing water it would be in a life-threatening situation.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Ian Bitcon said: “Fortunately the big freeze has not cause too many problems for West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service and we have maintained business as usual with all of our fire engines still on the run.

“As we approach the weekend we would like to remind the people of West Yorkshire about the perils of frozen ponds and lakes and the immediate debilitating effect on the body of falling into cold water.

“We urge parents to know where their kids are playing and to keep a keen eye on them, whilst of course enjoying the winter activities we all love such as sledging and making snowmen!”

Remember cold water kills

  • If you have a dog we strongly advise you keep them on a lead around frozen water – if the dog falls through the ice; do not enter the water to rescue it, call the Fire and Rescue Service for assistance
  • Be especially careful if you are out walking or running near open water – ice could make pathways slippery and may cause you to fall in

Cold water shock occurs when someone enters cold water. It is a natural human response and causes people to panic and gasp for air but then take on water instead. The cold starts to attack the body so it switches into preservation mode and diverts the warm blood to protect the body’s vital organs.

By doing this it reduces the oxygenated blood circulation to the muscles and fatigue quickly sets in. Even good swimmers can get affected by the condition and can soon get into difficulty.

If you fall into water you should roll on to your back try to remain calm and briefly allow your body to acclimatise to the cold. By being on your back it should be easier to keep your mouth above water if you are gasping for air. After the initial shock try to get someone’s attention to get help or look for a place where you can get yourself out. The more moving you do in the cold water the faster you will run out of energy.

If you see someone else fall into cold water don’t become a casualty yourself:

  • TALK – See if you can guide them to a place where they can rescue themselves
  • REACH – Use something to safely reach them to assist them out, such as a long branch, pole or rope
  • THROW – Look for something nearby which can help the casualty to stay afloat such as a life ring or a football
  • CALL – Shout to others for HELP and call 999 and ask for the Fire Service
  • Keep in contact with the casualty and reassure them until the Fire Service arrives

For more information on how to keep yourself and your community safe during severe weather visit www.westyorksfire.gov.uk or visit our Twitter page @WYFRS or search for us on Facebook.