Irish Water Safety is warning the public about the danger of drowning as the forecasted spell of severe weather and frosts may well create some frozen ice over canals, rivers and lakes. Children are especially at risk as they are attracted to playing on ice. Constant supervision is the key to keeping children off the ice.
Also at risk are individuals who attempt to rescue others fallen through ice. Ice-related drownings occur when the rescuer gets into difficulty attempting to rescue another person or a family pet. Whereas a pet will often manage a scramble to safety unaided, regrettably, the owner may not.
Playing or fishing on the frozen edges of a river, lake or canal is perilous as ice can be quite thick in one area yet it can be much less within the same area.
Ice Rescue Tips:
- Carry your mobile - Call for assistance from the emergency services;
- Do not attempt to go out onto the ice yourself to effect a rescue;
- Instruct the casualty to keep still to maintain their heat and energy;
- Try to find something close by that will extend your reach such as a ringbuoy, rope, pole, branch or items of clothing. Throw this to the casualty. Then make sure you are stable on the bank by lying down or getting someone to hold onto you and attempt to pull the casualty from the water.
- If you cannot find something with which to perform a reach or throw rescue, try to find something that will float to throw or push out to them. This will help keep the casualty afloat until assistance arrives
- Throughout your rescue KEEP OFF THE ICE, and continue to reassure the casualty, keeping them talking until help arrives
All casualties should be taken to hospital even if they appear to be unaffected by their ordeal as they will be suffering from hypothermia.