“Help us to protect you and your loved ones” – This is the urgent plea of emergency and public services across Warwickshire.
Yesterday saw two incidents responded to by multiple emergency services in the county following people reporting seeing others walking across frozen water.
Emergency and public services in Warwickshire, as part of the Local Resilience Forum (LRF), work together in the county to warn and inform residents of dangers as well as responding together to incidents.
Today, Co-Chair of the Warwickshire LRF and speaking on behalf of all agencies, Deputy Chief Constable Alex Franklin-Smith, urged all residents to take heed of his message:
“I cannot begin to imagine the pain the families and friends of those who have recently lost their lives just across the border at Babbs Mill Lake must be going through following the tragic loss of four young lives. Collectively across Warwickshire we send all those affected our deepest sympathies, and our hearts go out to everyone in their local community.
“Despite this incident, yesterday in Warwickshire we had two reports of young people being seen walking on frozen water. Each was quickly responded to by multiple emergency services with extensive searches carried out and thankfully there has been no evidence in each case of anyone coming to any harm.
“However, this could have been a very different situation had anyone entered the water at either of these locations.
“I urge everyone to help us protect you and your loved ones and stay clear of all frozen water in Warwickshire.”
Fellow LRF Co-Chair and Chief Fire Officer Ben Brook added: “We want everyone in our county to have a safe winter. While the cold weather persists, we need people to take extra care while walking or playing near any frozen water. Whilst the lake or water may look frozen, it may not be solid enough to hold any weight and in situations involving pets, where people go in to rescue them, or young people who may not see the dangers present, the situation can quickly change.
“All open water, particularly when it’s frozen, can pose significant risks to people. We may be a land-locked county, but we are not without these risks. Our message to everyone right now is to stay well away from the water’s edge. Please don’t try to walk or skate on frozen water. Regardless of how solid it looks, you never know when the ice may give way, in which instance tragic outcomes are common.
“Please take the time now to talk to young people, friends and family, about the dangers of frozen lakes and water and why it’s important for them to stay safe, so that we can protect our loved ones.”
DCC Franklin-Smith concluded: ”We would also like to take this opportunity to thank the members of public who quickly reported the recent incidents to us so that we could take the swift actions we did to try and locate and identify any people at risk.
“This needs to be a community response to this risk and together we can keep all of our loved ones safe this winter.
“On behalf of Warwickshire LRF and all the partners working to keep you safe 24/7, I wish you all a very peaceful and safe Christmas and new year.”