The recent tragic loss of life in Danson Park lake, London this week, has really brought home how dangerous bad weather can be. 

On the roads, when we’re walking the dog, on the school run –  as much as we love talking about the weather, the extremes we’re experiencing courtesy of ‘the beast from the east’ and Storm Emma, all too readily can catch us out and leave us unprepared for the worst. 

As the weekend approaches, the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) believe that forewarned is forearmed and has some simple but effective safety advice to help you, your friends and your family, stay safe and warm through the worst. 

Ice or water that appears to be frozen, presents its own unique set of dangers. We’re all well aware of the dangers of slipping on ice underfoot but ice on bodies of water can easily disguise the hazards underneath and its presence is no guarantee it will support your weight. Should the worst happen and someone falls through the ice, there is the chance of being trapped and the temperature of the water alone, will quickly take your breath away and sap any strength to fight.

A frozen lake, pond, canal or reservoir can make for ‘picture postcard’ seasonal scene of exquisite natural beauty. Tragically, all too often, people risk their lives by venturing into the water.

  • Teach children not to go on to frozen water under any circumstances
  • Children and pets are particularly at risk when tempted to play on the ice
  • Pets should be kept on leads when near frozen water and owners refrain from throwing objects onto ice for them to retrieve
  • When you’re out and about, plan ahead and ensure you’re familiar with basic emergency procedures
  • Listen out for local weather reports and wherever practical, adhere to traffic alerts

Once everything has started to thaw, flood hazards bring their own set of problems:

  • Never try to walk or drive through floodwater – six inches of fast flowing water can knock an adult over and two feet of water will float a car
  • Never try to swim through fast flowing water or flood water – you may get swept away or be struck or caught up in an object in the water
  • Never allow children or pets to go near or play in flood water. It is hazardous and may be contaminated with chemicals
  • Keep an eye on weather reports for flooding in your area. Do not travel in heavy rainstorms or snowstorms unless absolutely necessary
  • Prepare a flood kit in case your home floods or you are trapped in a vehicle for any period. This can contain a change of clothing, wellies, waterproofs and blankets as well as a torch (and batteries), charged mobile, radio, medication and a first aid kit and a list of useful numbers, including flood alert lines