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Keep off ice - safety advice

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service are again warning people of the extreme dangers of being around ice and open water during the winter. We have experienced severe cold conditions over the last few years.

Venturing onto frozen ponds, reservoirs, lakes and canals can easily have fatal results. It might be tempting to walk or play on the frozen water but the ice can easily break. The temperature of the water is cold enough to take your breath away, which can lead to panic and drowning.

The coldness can make your arms and legs numb which means you can't control them and can't swim. It can lead to hypothermia - serious reduction in your body temperature - which can cause heart failure. This happens to even the strongest swimmers!

Please follow our simple safety steps below:

Parents, guardians and teachers are urged to remind children and young people NEVER to venture onto frozen water. Even if it appears thick from the bank, it becomes thinner very quickly.

Adults - set a good example by staying off the ice yourselves.

If a dog or other animal ventures onto the ice, or falls through it, do NOT go to its rescue - you are likely to end up in the freezing water as well and unable to help the animal. Never throw sticks or balls onto the ice for your dog.

Fact: Over 50% of ice related drownings involve an attempted rescue of a dog!

If you do see a person or animal in trouble in icy water, stay on the bank and phone 999. If you can reach the person with a branch, clothing tied together or other items then you could try to do so but STAY ON THE BANK.

Our message is simple - stay safe, stay off the ice.

Ice safety banner 2018

Further information and resources

Have a look at our Safe4Winter presentation for more information on staying safe during the winter weather. Click on the link below:

Safe4Winter presentation


RoSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) have produced a simple easy to read leaflet for parents and teachers which shows how the 'Be Water Wise' code applies in winter and highlights the dangers presented by water and ice. More online water safety information for children and young people can be found on RoSPA's water safety pages.

The Royal Life Saving Society UK have also produced some simple winter safety tips to help you stay safe this winter. Please click here for further details.