Dog owners are being urged to keep their pets on a lead near frozen ponds or lakes, and reminded to call 999 for help rather than risking their own lives if their pet falls into water.
At 9:35am today, Tuesday 12 December, Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) was called to help a dog which fell through ice into a lake at a nature reserve near Great Doddington.
Thankfully, when crews arrived they found the dog had got itself out and was reunited with its owner, who did exactly the right thing by calling 999 for help.
Liz Armstrong, community safety officer at NFRS said: “This incident demonstrates the importance of keeping dogs on a lead near frozen water, and how vital it is to call for help rather than risk your own life. Most animals which fall into water are able to get themselves out, unlike many humans who go to their aid.
“We appreciate it would be terrifying to see your pet in difficulty, and it’s natural to want to help them, but please don’t put your own life at risk – the shock of falling into cold water can kill.”
What to do if someone falls into water
If a person or animal falls into water, do not go in after them – call 999 and give the most accurate location you can – this can save vital minutes. While you wait for help, try to reach the casualty from the bank using a rescue aid, branch or knotted clothing. Lie down to ensure you stay secure.
Liz added: “Keep talking to them – tell them to stay still and offer reassurance to help them stay calm. If a dog has fallen in, move to somewhere they will be able to climb out and call them towards you. Finally, if possible send someone to the nearest road to guide the emergency services in.”
With low temperatures continuing, please avoid walking near to water wherever possible – paths and banks can become very slippery and treacherous.
Please also talk to children and other family members to ensure everyone understands they should stay away from water in snowy or icy conditions, and never venture onto ice.Find out more about winter water safety