Oxfordshire river rescues prompt ice warning

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Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service is warning people about the dangers of venturing onto frozen ponds and lakes after seven people and four dogs had to be rescued last winter.

On one occasion, a lady and her dog died after falling through a frozen river in Oxford, during the cold weather in December 2010.

With the temperature dropping this week, the Fire and Rescue Service is warning people to take extra care.

Stuart Garner, Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service Risk Reduction Manager, said: “Naturally as an animal owner your first reaction is to help your much loved pet. However, you cannot help when you are in trouble yourself.

“Please always stay off frozen rivers and lakes, the ice can be very thin and the sub-zero water temperature can quickly incapacitate most people. If your pet should stray onto the ice and fall through, in many instances animals will manage to scramble ashore unaided while you may be left stranded in the icy water.

“Our advice is to keep dogs on leads near frozen water, don’t throw sticks or balls near these locations and if your dog does fall through the ice and gets stranded call 999 and wait for assistance.”

Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service would also like to remind people to take care when out and about in the winter weather. Pavements and roads can become very slippery when covered in frost, ice snow or slush.

Councillor Judith Heathcoat, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Safer and Stronger Communities, added: “In this sort of weather people have to be responsible and take extra care when out walking and driving. So many people got in to difficulty in the frozen water last winter and it is vitally important to listen to the advice provided by the Fire and Rescue Service to make sure this isn’t repeated.”

For further fire and road safety advice visit www.365alive.co.uk