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Parks staff urge visitors to stay safe around frozen water

Published on Thursday, December 15, 2022

2 minute read

Icy lake with a swan

With icy winter weather affecting the region, Leicester residents are being reminded to use parks and open spaces responsibly.

Freezing conditions and recent snowfall mean that ice has formed on some ponds and lakes in parks such as Watermead Park and Abbey Park, making them potentially hazardous to people and pets.

Parks staff are urging people to keep away from frozen water and lakes, and advising visitors not to let children play or skate on the ice.

Dog owners should keep animals away from ice and avoid throwing balls or sticks anywhere nearby.

Additional warning signs have been put in place and extra patrols by park wardens are being carried out in parks which have lakes or ponds.

The warning follows the tragic deaths of four children who fell into an icy lake in Solihull, near Birmingham over the weekend.

The advice if someone has fallen through the ice is:

Call 999, giving call handlers a clear location and the best-known point of access.

If possible, try to provide a What 3 Words location to the call handler. What 3 Words is a smartphone app which generates the caller’s exact location. It can be downloaded here.

Don’t try to go on the ice to rescue them, but shout to tell the person to stay still.

Branches or clothing that could be made into a rope can help to extend the reach to a person.

Lie down if throwing a line or offering a branch, to ensure you keep yourself stable. If nothing long is available, look for something that floats for them to hold on to until emergency services arrive.

Reassure anyone in trouble, and don’t panic.   

Deputy city mayor for leisure, culture and sports, Cllr Piara Singh Clair, said: “Our thoughts are with the families and friends of the children who died following last weekend’s tragic events in Solihull.

“However scenic frozen lakes or ponds may look, they can be extremely dangerous to pets, children and anyone else who falls into such cold water.

“Leicester has some beautiful parks and open spaces and we want everyone to enjoy them safely.”

Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service Area Manager Operational Response, Matthew Cane, added: “Following the recent incident in Solihull, we would like to remind members of our communities to be cautious near any frozen ponds, lakes and canals as they can be incredibly dangerous.

“Keep animals on leads at all times when near water. If a person or animal falls into frozen water, call 999 straight away and ask for assistance, giving your What 3 Words location where possible.

“The Fire and Rescue Service are specifically trained and equipped to deal with these incidents safely.”

For more safety advice, visit the Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service website here

For more information or to report a problem on Leicester’s parks, see the city council's parks webpage here