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Keep Animals Away from Frozen Ponds and Lakes

8th December 2010
The hidden danger of ice could be lurking right underneath your feet and you won't know it until it's too late. Scientists say it takes several weeks of freezing temperatures in order for ice to be safe enough to walk on, and even then, there are risks.

Belfast Coastguard, in warning the public about venturing out on thin ice said:

"There's no such thing as safe ice. If you do go through the ice, you could face frostbite, hypothermia and ultimately death if you are not rescued fast enough.

"If you're going out anyway in poor weather take your mobile phone with you; because it's cold out there, and you never know when you might need it in an emergency".

"Today in Northern Ireland, a dog drowned after falling through the ice at Enniskillen, Lough Erne. Remember to keep dogs on leads in danger areas, or avoid walking close to frozen lakes, rivers or ponds. Never go in the water after a dog - call the Emergency Services instead.

"If you do fall through the ice, try not to panic. You're going to take a deep breath when you go in, and you're going to suck some water in.

"You have to fight through that and that urge to panic. In that first stage, find something to hold on to whilst you're gasping and suffering from 'cold shock'. Once you get yourself calmed down, you're going to get really cold really fast. You're going to have about 10 minutes where you can actually do stuff and then your fine motor skills will start to fail, your fingers are going to be so cold, you're not going to be able to grab hold of stuff. You're going to have to pull yourself up with your elbows, your arms, and kick."

If you do fall in but are able to get out, you should roll yourself in the same direction to shore the same way you walked in because you know that area of ice is stable.

Published in Marine Warning
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