What not to do if someone falls through ice

Each year, the Fire and Rescue Service warn people of the extreme dangers of being around ice and open water during this time of year.

For children especially, it might be tempting to walk or play on the frozen water but ice over any inland water can be inconsistent and very thin in parts. Even for strong swimmers, the temperature can be cold enough to take a person’s breath away and numb arms and legs.

A simple way to minimise risk for your child is to educate them in the dangers of frozen water. If they see a person or animal in trouble, make sure their initial reaction isn’t to put themselves in danger by getting in after them. The best response is to call 999 and tell the casualty to steady their breathing and stay as still and calm as possible until help arrives. Thrashing around in the water will only cause them to panic more and lose vital heat and energy.

If your child is able to safely reach the person with a branch, clothing tied together or other items then they can try this, but they should always stay securely on the bank.

Click here to find out more about ice safety.