FIRE crews took to Tongwell Lake on Saturday to prepare for an emergency they hope will never happen.
Crews from Newport Pagnell and Broughton tested a number of rescue techniques as they warn people of the dangers of frozen waterways during the recent cold snap.
The ‘Don’t Dice With Ice’ campaign aims at helping people stay safe when around frozen lakes should they get in trouble.
They warn people to stay away from the waters edge, be extra vigilant with children, keep dogs under control and should you spot an accident on the ice, call 999 or if it’s an animal, call the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.
Watch Manager Mark Robinson from Newport Pagnell Fire Station said: “The lakes are not a playground for children, and even with all our equipment and training, they can be a challenging environment for firefighters.
“People who are tempted to walk on frozen waterways face a serious risk of falling through and going under.
“We are also concerned about the number of people walking dogs off the lead near frozen waterways.
“If the dog goes on to the ice and falls through, please don’t attempt to rescue it yourself. There have been a number of cases up and down the country where it has cost well-meaning people their lives.”
Newport Pagnell’s rescue boat has been called out 11 times in the past three months, mainly by motorists stuck in floodwater. Last year it was called out to help a woman who had ventured on to the ice at Willen Lake.
Saturday’s exercise involved firefighters and swift-water rescue technicians using a rescue sled and a 10-metre rescue path.
Their personal protective equipment included drysuits, personal flotation devices, throwlines, crampons and luminous sticks.