In the last 10 years over twenty people have drowned after falling through ice into water, while many others have had to be rescued and revived. Looking at past incidents it appears that the individuals most at risk are young children and males of any age. Children are obviously attracted to frozen lakes and canals as they present natural ice skating opportunities.
However, over 50 per cent of ice related drowning involved an attempted rescue of another person or a dog. In many instances the dog managed to scramble ashore unaided while the owner did not. It is therefore prudent not to throw sticks or balls for dogs near frozen water and if they do get into trouble, not to attempt to rescue them by venturing onto the ice!
The following is taken from the (British) Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents:
Although the message should be getting through to people that the only way to stay safe near frozen water is to KEEP OFF, every year individuals repeatedly dice with death and venture out onto frozen lakes, canals and other areas of inland water. The inevitable result is that some fall through or become stranded on islands unable to return to safety.
So what action should be taken in these circumstances to assist the casualty without putting the rescuer at risk?
This is especially important info for my fishing friends and anyone with family that might venture out towards waters around this time of year - please let everyone know the importance of being careful! Mark