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Winter Warning: Stay away from frozen canals

Park Rangers are urging people to take care after Wolverhampton was turned into a winter wonderland by the cold snap.

Park Rangers are urging people to take care after Wolverhampton was turned into a winter wonderland by the cold snap.

And with more freezing weather and snow forecast in the coming days, they are particularly warning people not to walk on frozen canals, ponds or lakes, with ice liable to give way and plunging people into the icy water.

Steve Wright, Wolverhampton City Council‘s Head of Parks, said: “Winter is a great time to get out and about, but it can also be very dangerous – particularly for children playing around or on frozen canals, lakes and ponds.

“Although frozen water can look solid, there’s no way of knowing whether it will hold your weight – and by the time you find out that it won’t, it’s often too late. If the ice gives way it can trap you. People should be very careful around the edges of canals, ponds and lakes because settled snow can hide where the shore ends.”

He added: “Children are most at risk because they are naturally adventurous and frozen water may look like tempting playgrounds and so we would encourage parents to talk to their children about the hazards of frozen water when playing outside. Children should be supervised at all times, especially when playing near to frozen ponds, rivers, lakes or canals.

“People should also keep their dogs on a lead. If your dog gets into trouble, the best advice is to not follow it onto the ice as it could put your life in danger.”

If you spot someone in trouble, do not to attempt to go out onto the ice yourself, but instead call the emergency services on 999. Then:

Try finding something which will extend your reach, such as a rope, pole or branch. Throw the object – or one end of it – out to the person in the water and, from a stable position on the bank (either lying down or with someone holding onto you) then pull them in.

If you cannot find something to reach with, find an object which can be used as buoyancy aid and throw that out.

Tell the person in the water to remain still – this will maintain heat and energy, reducing the threat of hypothermia. Continue to reassure them until the emergency services arrive.

For more safety tips, please visit the Wolverhampton City Council website.

Flickr photo by Elliott Brown used under Creative Commons license.

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