Firefighters from London Fire Brigade practice their water rescue skills on a frozen pond in Clapham, south west London.

Firefighters urge caution during ‘severe cold weather’

Published:  03 February, 2012

‘We’ve recently heard of people putting heaters and hairdryers in their beds to stay warm and this is a disaster waiting to happen” – Dave Brown, Assistant Commissioner for Operations and Mobilising, London Fire Brigade.

With freezing temperatures hitting the capital and the Met Office issuing a severe cold weather warning fire chiefs are today urging people to take extra care and stay safe as the icy weather looks set to last into the weekend.

As ever, firefighters across the capital are on standby to undertake water rescues if people get stuck on icy lakes and to tackle any blazes caused by people going to extreme lengths to keep warm.

To help prevent people from being seriously injured, or worse, if they fall through ice in frozen ponds and lakes, London Fire Brigade is on standby with equipment including emergency rescue boats, inflatable rescue paths, mud lances, thermal clothing and dry suits.

Fire chiefs are also urging people to be careful in how they go about heating their homes during the cold snap. Just this week a man was taken to hospital with burns and smoke inhalation following a fire caused by his electric heater being left too close to his bed

Dave Brown, the Brigade’s Assistant Commissioner for Operations and Mobilising, said:

“When freezing weather strikes, people often put themselves in dangerous situations. If you think wandering onto a frozen pond is a good idea, it’s not. You run the risk of hypothermia, or even worse.

“If you use heaters or fires in your home, please be extra careful. We’ve recently heard of people putting heaters and hairdryers in their beds to stay warm and this is a disaster waiting to happen.”

The Brigade is urging the public to take extra precautions in order to stay safe, including:

  • Ensuring pipes in your home are properly lagged, in order to reduce the risk of flooding caused by frozen pipes. The number of flooding incidents often shoots up during very cold weather.
  • Take extra care in the home to avoid fires. Make sure heaters and fires are well away from flammable items like curtains or bedding.
  • Drive carefully on icy roads.
  • Staying well away from frozen ponds and lakes. London’s firefighters are called to rescue people and pets who have fallen through or become trapped on ice every year.

  • Operation Florian

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