London Fire Brigade warns Londoners to stay off the ice

Image above: Firefighters helped a family whose car had skidded off the road into a ditch

Freezing temperatures sweep across the capital

London Fire Brigade has issued an urgent warning for Londoners to stay off frozen ponds or lakes and to take extra care when driving as temperatures drop below freezing.

Their warning came as emergency service workers in the West Midlands searched for a group of children who had fallen through the ice into a frozen lake in Solihull.

Over the weekend, firefighters were called to assist a family to safety after their car left the road and went into freezing water in Rainham. Station Commander David Hill, who attended the scene of the incident on New Road in Rainham, said:

“Crews did a fantastic job, working in freezing temperatures, to ensure the family was brought to safety after their car left the road and went into a ditch filled with freezing water.

“The ice was incredibly thick, and the water could have easily caused cold water shock. The family were treated on scene by London Ambulance Service crews and were thankfully okay, but it could have been a lot worse and shows just how dangerous driving in icy conditions can be.”

Never assume pond ice is thick enough to walk on

With the cold weather set to continue for another few days at least, firefighters are warning people to take extra care. Assistant Commissioner Spencer Sutcliff said:

“Walking out on to frozen ponds or lakes is extremely dangerous. Never assume that the ice is thick enough to support you. It may look sturdy enough to stand on, but it often isn’t and can be of variable thickness especially as you move away from the edge where the ice is often thinner.

“If you fall into icy water, the risk of hypothermia is very high and can prove fatal.

“We’re urging parents to take some time to talk to their children about the dangers of going on the ice and to supervise them carefully.

“We also see a number of people who put themselves in danger by attempting to rescue pets that have become stranded or trapped, and then they also need to be rescued by the brigade. Dog owners should keep them on a lead and keep a close eye on them.

“Firefighters are trained and have specialist equipment to rescue those who do get stuck on, or in, an icy lake or pond, so if you see a person or an animal in difficulty don’t put yourself at risk by going in after them. Call 999, keep your eye on them and stay off the ice.”

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