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Saturday, 28 March 2015

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Ice warning for frozen Cumbrian waters

CUMBRIANS are being warned to stay off frozens lakes and ponds.

With the current cold snap set to bring extended freezing temperatures, Cumbria Fire and Rescue is warning people of the potentially fatal consequences of venturing onto frozen lakes, rivers and ponds.

While frozen water might look like a tempting playground, play can quickly turn to tragedy if the ice gives way.

The dangers of this type of accident are particularly prevalent in Cumbria given the large number of lakes, tarns and rivers across the county.

Even where the ice looks stable, people should never risk stepping onto the ice as there is no way of knowing just how thick or stable any ice is or whether it’s strong enough to take weight.

Parents in particular are being warned to ensure their children are aware of how dangerous playing on frozen water can be with solid-looking surfaces often hiding dangerously thin ice and freezing water beneath.

Cumbria’s assistant chief fire officer Adrian Buckle said: “If you go out onto frozen water you are literally dicing with death so I’d urge people not to do so under any circumstances.

“There are many potential dangers associated with a frozen body of water. Although it may appear to be robust and strong, there can be little or no support and the ice can give way with no warning.

“The hazards are drowning, asphyxia and hypothermia. If the ice gives way then it can trap you, and in freezing temperatures hypothermia sets in very quickly.

“I’d also encourage parents to know where their children are when they are out and about in the cold weather and to never leave youngsters unsupervised near frozen ponds, rivers and lakes.

“While the fire and rescue service is trained to carry out frozen water rescues, the best way to avoid tragedy is to prevent it happening in the first place.”

Dog walkers are also asked to keep dogs on leads near frozen water if there is a risk of them venturing onto the ice and getting into trouble.

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