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Warning to people to stay off frozen rivers and ponds

posted 22 Dec 2010, 07:24 by Alistar Frater

Safety warning, Lothian and Borders Police

Lothian and Borders Police are reminding people of the dangers of taking to frozen rivers and ponds at this time of year.

Inspector Stephen Elliot, from the Community Safety Unit in West Lothian, said: "While it may be tempting to play on ice at this time of year, there is no way of telling how thick and secure the surface is, so the simple message is to stay away, and stay safe."

Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service are often called upon to facilitate the rescue in incidents where people do fall through.

Group Manager Stuart Stevens from Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service said: "Every year people drown in accidents on icy rivers and waterways. We do not want to see this happening in Lothian and Borders. Our highly trained water rescue personnel are usually called out to these type of incidents. Many of the areas involved will be difficult to access combined with severe winter conditions this can make for a very challenging rescue and poses a real risk for everyone involved. Frozen water can kill quickly, children especially will not be able to survive in extremely cold temperatures and once in the water it can be very hard to get out.

"I would urge parents to talk to their children about the very real dangers of playing on ice. Dog walkers should also make sure that pets are kept on a lead near frozen water to avoid the risk of them going in. Last year we carried out a number of rescues of dogs who had fallen into the water. The message is clear stay away from frozen water and avoid the need to call us out and the serious risk of harm."