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Frozen water

Dec 13, 2022

Derbyshire’s Firefighters and members of the Derbyshire Water Safety Partnership are appealing to people to keep off and away from areas of frozen water following the tragic incident at Babbs Mill Lake in Solihull.  

On Sunday 11 December, West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service and emergency services responded to Babbs Mill Lake where four children were rescued after falling through the ice. Reports are now confirming that three of the children have sadly died, with the fourth still in a critical condition. Firefighters continue to search the lake. The thoughts and sympathy of everyone at Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service, and members of the Water Safety Partnership are with the family and friends of the deceased and all those affected by this tragic incident.  

Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service’s Group Manager, David Diggins who is also the Chair of the Derbyshire Water Safety Partnership said: “Tragically this incident underlines why venturing onto any area of frozen water is extremely dangerous, no matter how safe it looks.  

“I’d like to appeal to parents, guardians, and carers across Derbyshire to speak to their children about the dangers. No matter how solid the ice may look and feel around the edge of a frozen lake it very rarely is, and the further out you venture, the thinner the ice becomes, meaning the chance of falling through into the icy water is highly likely.” 

Cold Water Shock  

Venturing onto frozen water increases your chances of falling into icy water. This can lead to cold water shock which is your body’s natural reaction to the cold temperature. Symptoms include: 

  • Gasping for breath/panic. 
  • Rapid breathing. 
  • Rise in blood pressure as your body tries to keep warm. 
  • Muscle cramps and loss of strength making it almost impossible to swim. 
  • Cardiac arrest. 

Float to Live 

If you do find yourself in water, try to resist the urge to panic.  

Lay on your back, float with your arms and legs out like a star, calm your breathing and shout for help.  

Dog Walkers, Walkers, and Runners 

If you are out walking, running, or out with the dog, be aware of slippery paths close to frozen water. 

Keep dogs on a lead near water/ice – if they do venture onto the ice and get into difficulty, call 999 immediately.  

No matter what the circumstances, if a person, or animal is in difficulty – do not attempt to enter the water to rescue them – call 999 immediately.  

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