How to stay vigilant and safe in icy conditions as weather worsens

ITV News Central Reporter Pablo Taylor has been investigating why frozen water is a particular peril in the UK

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) is urging everyone to be especially cautious around open waters during the current extreme weather conditions that Britain is facing.

This comes after the tragic event at Babbs Mill Park at Kingshurst in Solihull, where three children have died after falling into a lake.

Frozen water is a hazard across the UK as Britain doesn't have continued periods of extremely cold weather.

That means when water freezes, the ice doesn't form to a consistent thickness.

Instead, much of it - especially away from the edges - can be quite thin and very difficult to judge which parts of the ice can support our body weight.

Pools of water, including lakes, are often deepest at the centre, so it someone does fall, it can be very hard to rescue them.

Underwater currents mean people can often get swept under parts of ice that aren't broke.

The body's reaction to the freezing temperatures send people to a cold-water shock.

West Midlands Fire Service urge parents and carers to remind children of how lethal frozen lakes can be

Earlier today, West Midlands Fire Service said: "Yesterday’s incident is a stark reminder to us all of the dangers of open water, especially during the winter months.

"Frozen lakes, ponds, canals and reservoirs can look picturesque but they can be lethal and there are no greater warnings of this than yesterday’s tragic events."

"We would ask parents and carers to remind children of the dangers of ice and how to keep off it."

With news of the Met Office’s current yellow weather warning, where temperatures are set to drop as low as -15 in parts of Britain, RoSPA is concerned that icy conditions could result in further harm.

How to stay safe around frozen water and icy lakes:

If someone falls through the ice:

  • Call the emergency services

  • Do not attempt to go out on to the ice yourself

  • Tell the person to stay still to maintain heat and energy

  • Try finding something which will extend your reach, such as a rope, pole or branch

  • Throw the object out and, once ensuring you are stable on the bank either by lying down or having someone hold on to you, pull them in

  • If you cannot find something to reach with, try finding an object that will float and push that out to them

  • Ensure that you keep off the ice at all times during the rescue, continue to reassure the casualty and keep them talking until help arrives

  • Once the person has been rescued, keep them warm and take them to hospital even if they appear to be unaffected