A pond and river is not an ice rink

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Winter in Warsaw. Fot. E.Lach
Winter in Warsaw. Fot. E.Lach

The first severe frosts which caused freezing of numerous water reservoirs located within Warsaw area, create huge threat for people who overlook safety. Compliance with the principle, never to enter frozen water reservoirs, will enable to prevent the worst case scenario.

- Severe frosts which are present for over a week in Poland froze the water in numerous reservoirs within the city area which is more than one hundred. Unfortunately, by some inhabitants they are used as a recreation area. The ice cover is treacherous and entering it we cannot have confidence that it will not break under our weight. Every year, together with the services we remind about this fact, but unfortunately, there are many thoughtless people. – said Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, the Mayor of Warsaw during the conference.

In the winter season, there are 16 ice rinks available in Warsaw (also half free of charge), however, there are those who prefer skating on frozen reservoirs. Within the whole city area there are as much as 120 various water reservoirs. Apart from the Vistula river these are small rivers, streams, clay-pits, channels, ponds, catch bins. Mostly, the depth of these tanks exceeds 2 metres.

The popularization of safety behaviours in winter is associated not only with the tanks in the city. In Mazowieckie voivodship on 1 February the winter holidays start. During those holidays, children and teenagers visit different areas of the country where completely unknown water reservoirs are frozen.

"Fragile imagination" – the WOPR campaign

In Warsaw on 11 January starts an educational and social campaign "Fragile imagination". Its aim is to increase awareness about the threats associated with entering on frozen water reservoirs and to show how to act when the ice breaks. The Capital Water Volunteer Rescue Service in cooperation with PZU prepared a campaign, which aims at increasing the awareness about threats associated with entering on ice, popularization of safety behaviour and teaching the rules of self rescue in case of breaking of ice. The recipients of the campaign are first of all children and teenagers who, for example, in the period of approaching winter holidays will be particularly exposed to the dangers related with irresponsible fun on ice.
Objectives of the campaign will be implemented by broadcasting fifteen seconds spots on the screens in Warsaw trams and buses and activity on-line. A fan page on Facebook dedicated to the campaign will be kept by the Capital's WOPR (f/KruchaWyobraznia) and the website ( Broader materials related to safety on ice will be published here. The campaign will last until the end of January 2016. The Mayor of Warsaw Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz took the honorary patronage over the campaign.

The actions of the River Police with regard to safety in winter

Since 2011, the officers of the River Police organise meetings with students as part of the education on safety on ice. A specially prepared program which main character is a comic character, captain Wyderka, helps to transfer a significant knowledge to children and teenagers.
Educational meetings conveying a warning against an irresponsible stay on frozen water reservoirs start in November, and most often end in March - when the ice cover melts. Theoretical message is supported by many ice rescue presentations prepared in cooperation with Water Volunteer Rescue Service and Fire Brigade.
During winter holidays workshops are conducted in the Warsaw Praha cinema, in the course of which after a film show children with their parents can learn about dangers connected with a frozen river or lake, learn how to use rescue equipment and call and provide help.