Experts warn of thin ice in Prague

The cold temperatures don’t always mean it is safe to go skating

Experts warn skaters to be careful on natural ice such as frozen ponds. There have been several cases of people breaking through the ice and falling into very cold water.

There are several safety tips. Most importantly, people should not go out on the ice alone.

Conversely, people should not walk on the ice in a big group but should leave at least an arm’s length between people. Check the ice before going on it to see if it can support the weight. Also, uneven ice can be dangerous.

If the ice breaks, lie down and return in the same direction you came from. If rescue is necessary, call the emergency number 112, and try to secure yourself with a rope. After getting ashore put on dry clothing, find warmth and seek medical assistance if necessary.

The police do spot checks on the thickness of ice, but the responsibility for safety in most locations falls on the user, according to the police.

The reservoirs in Hostivař and Nové Butovice, as well as the pond Libocký rybník, have the thickness of the ice monitored closely, and the police warn people when it is less than the recommended thickness of 16 centimeters.

Other areas that have attracted skaters include Kotlářka in Prague 5, Džbán reservoir in Prague 6 and Nepomucký rybník in Prague 13.

Since the end of last week when temperatures dropped, emergency responders have gone to five cases where the low temperatures played a role.

One man, for example, fell through the surface at Hořejší rybnik in Prague 9–Hloubětín. Luckily, people in the area were able to rescue him and emergency services were able to treat him on the spot, without hospitalization.

The homeless population is also vulnerable to the extreme cold. The city has set up two shelters that are about 95 percent full. There are also places on a botel, and the city has plans to open additional space if needed.

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