Winter weather

Health and wellbeing in winter

Don’t go out on the ice!

Never walk on water covered with ice, whether it’s a river, canal, lake or any other body of water. You can never be sure how thick the ice really is, so there’s a big risk of falling through into freezing cold water. 

Stay away from the edge of the water too, so you don’t lose your footing and fall in.

What can happen if you fall into freezing cold water?

Falling into the water can cause cold water shock. This affects your muscles, nerves and makes it harder to think clearly. The freezing temperatures make it nearly impossible to get to safety or even ask for help.

You can also soon black out and lose consciousness. In ice cold water, this could quickly kill you.

What if someone else has fallen through the ice?

Follow these tips:

  • Never walk or climb onto the ice to try to help. It only risks more people getting hurt or losing their lives
  • Tell them to keep still to save their energy before help arrives
  • Try and reach them using a rope, pole, tree branch, clothing tied together or anything else which can help you reach further
  • When reaching for them, lie down to avoid being pulled onto the ice 
  • If you cannot reach them, slide something which floats, such as a plastic bottle or football, across the ice for them to hold onto while help is on the way.

How do I keep my dog safe from falling into ice water?

  • Keep dogs on a lead when they're near the ice
  • Never throw sticks or toys onto or near the ice
  • If a pet falls in, do not go into the ice or water to rescue them
  • Instead, move somewhere where the dog can climb out and call them to you.

In an emergency, call 999.

Lancashire County Council have lots of good advice on staying safe and well this winter. Visit their website for information about: