Birmingham Council repeats safety warning

By on 12/01/2010 in News

With snow and icy conditions continuing this week, Birmingham City Council is reinforcing its warnings of the dangers of attempting to skate or walk on any of the ice-covered park lakes and ponds.

With a slow thaw taking hold, the Council is warning that parks and their surrounds are just as dangerous as the big freeze that has been recently felt by the public. Snow and ice continue to make it difficult for people to see the edges and banks of park lakes and rivers. Added to the ever increasing sight of slush, the dangers of slipping into lakes and pools are increased.

Visitors to parks and open spaces are being urged to be vigilant, especially when visiting with small children and dogs. Parents are also asked to warn their children against using sledges on steep hills where there may be obstacles such as trees and fences.

Councillor Martin Mullaney, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Sport and Culture, said: “The continued cold snap which has resulted in regular snowy intervals has made visiting any one of Birmingham's parks a perfect opportunity for many. However, conditions are continuing to be hazardous, especially the slow thaw causing treacherous footing. There is a grave danger that this will lead to people falling into freezing water. Our message is to stay aware and be careful as we want families to continue to enjoy our parks safely.”

Park Rangers are continuing to ask that life belts are not misused at parks so they are readily available for emergencies. If the public see or are aware of missing existing life saving equipment, they should contact Birmingham's Parks on 0121 454 7810

Steve Grogan, Head of Birmingham Resilience Team, said:” We are also urging people not to get caught out and plan for the unexpected by keeping specific items in the car boot in case of emergency caused by adverse weather conditions.  Keeping an emergency kit, bottled water, first aid kit, torch, mobile phone and a list of useful telephone numbers along with a blanket, waterproofs and a spade will ensure you are well prepared for the worst winter can bring. Finally, the elderly should at all times possible stay in their homes and keep warm.”
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To find out more information and plan ahead for the expected freezing temperatures, visit www.birminghamprepared.gov.uk 

Peter Cornall, RoSPA head of leisure safety, said: “Winter is a great time to be out and about but it's worth taking a bit of extra care around hazards like frozen water – ice-related drownings are entirely and easily preventable.  And take time to consider your choice of sledging location, being mindful to consider other people on the slope and to think through the “what-ifs” when improvising or making a sledge, such as sharp edges etc. A good safety tip is to walk up the slope first - it will help you spot hazards, realise how steep the slope really is, and check whether there is enough stopping distance at the bottom.”

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Media contact:  Thomas Jeavons 0121 303 3392

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