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Water safety

Staying safe around water

In winter, children and pets are particularly at risk when tempted to play on the ice formed on open water. Adults can then find themselves at risk in attempting to save them.

Water safety tips

  • Teach children not to go onto the ice under any circumstances
  • Do not go onto ice or into the water to rescue a dog, move to somewhere that the dog will be able to climb out and call them towards you
  • Keep dogs on their leads when near ice and do not throw sticks or toys onto the ice
  • Time your walks to make the most of the daylight; if you need to walk in the evening only use well-lit areas or take a route not alongside water
  • When walking alongside water, keep back from the edge

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. Press 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 to 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 or blankets
  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 alcoholic drinks
  7. Keep them wrapped up so they warm up gradually

Many of our greenspaces across the Borough are enhanced by the presence of water in the form of waterbodies. Our water safety policy focuses on site safety and on exploring and determining how we can manage the risk that our water bodies could pose to the public, our employees, and contractors.

Last updated Monday, 22nd May 2023

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