FIREFIGHTERS are warning Dearne residents to keep away from frozen water when the mercury plummets this week.
Forecasters are widely predicting a spell of freezing temperatures, turning the country’s waterways to ice.
South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service warned every winter several people across the UK die after falling through ice, often in an attempt to rescue another person or animal.
The sub-zero conditions could also lead to a spike in house fires, as homeowners turn to alternative ways to keep warm.
Firefighters said open fires, electric blankets and heaters all present potential fire hazards in the home if they aren’t used with care.
The fire service’s cold weather advice includes:
*Keep pets on a secure lead and don’t allow them to run onto any ice
*Should a pet or person fall through ice, don’t put your life at risk by attempting to rescue them yourselves, call 999 instead
*If using open fires to stay warm, use a fire guard to stop flying embers
*Never use a hot water bottle in the same bed as an electric blanket
*Keep stand up heaters well away from soft furnishings and anything flammable.
Diane Malpass, SYFR Head of Community Safety, said: “Ice-related drownings are easily preventable. We advise people to take care around the edges of lakes and rivers because snow can obscure them, and we recommend that dogs are kept on a lead so they do not run out on to the ice.
“Although frozen water can look tempting, there’s simply no way of knowing whether the ice will hold your weight and it’s often too late by the time you find out that it won’t.
“It can also be a difficult time for older people, as they find it harder to deal with the very cold temperatures.
“But taking some time out to check on an older relative or neighbour and taking some basic fire safety precautions around the home, could make a big difference to their and your safety.”
For more winter safety advice visit www.syfire.gov.uk or follow the tips on Twitter @syfr