Scottish Fire and Rescue Service issue safety advice around frozen water during freezing conditions

  Publish Date:

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is urging people to stay safe around frozen water as temperatures look set to remain below freezing in Scotland.

Whether it's a river, pond, canal or reservoir – frozen water should be avoided.

While the ice may look solid, it can suddenly crack and cause a person to fall through and potentially become trapped under the ice. The consequences can be fatal as the low temperature of the water can bring on cold-water shock which can lead to a heart attack.

If someone does get into difficulty on the ice, the advice is to dial 999, ask for the fire and rescue service and wait for help to arrive. Do not attempt to rescue them as you could be putting yourself in danger.

Parents, carers and guardians are also asked to ensure children are made aware of the dangers of playing on ice.

Dog owners should also ensure they keep pets on a lead and should avoid throwing objects onto the ice for them to retrieve.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Area Commander for Prevention and Protection, David Dourley, said: “Following the tragic events of the weekend, our thoughts are very much with the families, friends and local communities at this sad time.

“We strongly urge everyone to please be aware of the dangers of frozen water. We know the ice can look inviting but do not be tempted to walk on ice. It can easily crack and cause a person to fall through.

“Don’t wander too near to the edge, icy conditions could cause you to slip and fall in and don’t be tempted to test how solid the water is.

“Adults should set a good example by staying off the ice and we also ask that parents, carers and guardians ensure children are aware of the dangers of frozen water.

“We don’t want your winter walk to end in tragedy so please avoid going near frozen water when you are out with loved ones and pets.”

Advice for anyone who gets into trouble in frozen water is to try to conserve their energy by keeping as still as possible while waiting for help.

And be aware of the dangers of cold-water shock which can be brought about by low temperatures, which can cause breathing difficulties, blood vessels to close, the heart-rate to increase and lead to a heart attack.

For more information on Cold Water Shock please visit

Our Latest News