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Winter Water Safety

14 December 2022

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Following the tragic incident that took place at Babbs Mill Lake in Solihull, there has been increased awareness on water safety, especially during the winter.

With this in mind, Lowestoft Town Council are promoting the resources and advice from the Royal Life Saving Society.  The RLSS are a UK charity who raise awareness of water safety education and training.

Advice for the Winter Months

For the winter months, their advice is to:

  • Teach Children not to go on the ice
  • Not go on the ice to rescue someone or an animal (call 999 in an emergency)
  • Keep dogs on a lead and not throw sticks or balls into water
  • Only use well lit areas - this reduces the risk of slipping and falling into water
  • Keep back from the edge

There are a number of great resources available to download for free from the RLSS website, including an awareness activitiy sheet for children and an information booklet.

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What to do if you fall through the ice:

  1. Keep calm and shout for ‘help’
  2. Spread your arms across the surface of the ice in front of you
  3. If the ice is strong enough, kick your legs to slide onto the ice
  4. Lie flat and pull yourself towards the bank
  5. If the ice breaks, work your way to the bank-breaking the ice in front of you anyway
  6. If you cannot climb out, wait for help and keep as still as possible. Preserve heat by pressing your arms by your side and keep your legs together. Keep your head clear of the water
  7. Once you are safe, go to hospital immediately for a check up

What to do if you see someone fall through the ice:

  1. Shout for assistance and phone the emergency services – call 999 or 112
  2. Do not walk or climb onto the ice to attempt a rescue
  3. Shout to the casualty to ‘keep still’ and offer reassurance to keep them calm
  4. Try and reach them from the bank using a rope, pole, tree branch, clothing tied together or anything else which can extend your reach
  5. When reaching from the bank, lie down to avoid being pulled onto the ice
  6. If you cannot reach them, slide something which floats, such as a plastic bottle or football, across the ice for them to hold onto to stay afloat whilst help is on the way
  7. If the casualty is too far away, do not attempt to rescue them. Wait for the emergency services while calming and reassuring the casualty

What to do after the casualty has been rescued from the ice:

  1. Make sure the ambulance is on its way
  2. Lay the casualty flat, check for normal breathing and begin resuscitation if necessary
  3. Prevent them from getting colder by covering them with warm clothing, blankets etc.
  4. Get them out of the cold under cover or create some shelter around them
  5. Until the casualty is in a warm place, do not undress them
  6. Do not rub their skin, do not apply hot water bottles and do not give an alcoholic drink
  7. Keep them wrapped up so they warm up gradually

All the above information has been supplied by the Royal Life Saver Society.  Please share these safety tips with your friends and family.