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Ice Grips for Emergency Services and First Responders

Ice Grips for Emergency Services and First Responders

Ice Grips for Emergency Services and First Responders

The UK weather has always been unpredictable...Like our summer’s, our winters vary wildly. Who can forget the recent ‘Big Freeze’ winter of 2009-10? And what about the ‘Arctic Winters’ of 1950-51 and 1963-64?

We have very selective memories of our UK winter weather, mainly because it can be so localised. Most years the UK enjoys (or suffers) snowfall and cold, icy weather, somewhere! Just not everywhere at once, apart from those memorable UK wide winters.

ICEGRIPPER ice grips for emergency servicesSo, it’s not surprising that the use of ice grips by UK emergency services, has been a bit hit and miss. Emergency services in other countries consider ice grips a standard part of their equipment. Especially in parts of USA, where they experience blanket snow and ice coverage – such as the North Eastern states. A quick scan of U.S. chat rooms, blogs and other social media, reveals active discussion about ice grips between fire fighters, police officers and other emergency service 'responders'.

ICEGRIPPER decided to find out what personnel in the UK thought about certain brands of ice grips and joined in with discussions on some chat boards aimed at service folk. Not surprisingly we found that usage and experience of ice grips was very sporadic and intermittent. In conclusion it’s easy to understand why - as it ties in with the ‘patchy’ nature of UK winters.

WORK on winter ice and snow with ICEGRIPPERHowever what happens when the country experiences a very cold or prolonged winter, whether regionally or nationally? How do fire fighters stay on their feet while hosing down buildings in already icy streets? How do police officers respond to emergencies and how do ambulance staff and paramedics administer aid to patients, without injuring themselves?

Slip and fall statistics for fire fighters and police officers are very difficult to find in public information even though the NHS publishes a wealth of slip and fall information. The NHS even has a specific injury code: 'W00...Fall on same level involving ice and snow'. But dig a bit deeper and information can be found. Some information on emergency service personnel has been generated in response to requests under the Freedom of Information Act and it can be startling:

• 2007 Notttinghamshire Constabulary officer slipped on ice in loading bay and injured back. £43,000 compensation
• 2013 South Yorkshire officer fell down on black ice and suffered a broken leg and damaged ligaments. £8,162 compensation
• 2014 Humberside officer slipped on ice in force car park and suffered a broken arm, £4,800 compensation, while a civilian who also slipped on ice received £5,500 for spraining their ankle.


Although these three examples do not seem to point to ‘rampant’ compensation it’s not surprising the 'blame and claim' culture has spread to the police force. Numbers of claims cases have risen dramatically across UK society as a whole in the past 25 years. Partly due to ‘no win - no fee’ legal services and ‘ambulance chasing’ legal representatives. When money is tight, why should police officers be any different – they have to look after themselves, like everyone else..? What is obvious though, is that there is a steady amount of compensation claims made by emergency service personnel for injuries caused by slipping on ice and snow and the amounts awarded could easily fund enough ice grips for an entire force.

For example, let’s take two northern constabularies, who are likely to suffer ice and snow most years. Cumbria...with just over 1,100 officers and Northumbria with around 3,700. Each force could kit each officer out with a pair of ice grips, robust enough to last a season, for around the same amount that was awarded in just the three featured compensation awards.

Interestingly, ICEGRIPPER is regularly approached by winter service volunteers, who help police and other emergency services. Known as ‘Responders’, many of these volunteers own 4 x 4 vehicles and help ‘ferry’ key and critical staff around, when winter conditions are too severe for normal vehicles. However they only receive a mileage allowance and they pay for their own ice grips!

4x4 RespondersConversations with ‘Responders’ reveals that the most dangerous part of any ‘rescue’ or ‘assist’ is the short distance between their vehicle and the door of the building where they are collecting from or delivering to. The ‘Responders’ nearly always purchase industrial standard ice grips and many of them are still using the same pair they bought 5 winters ago, at an average purchase price of just over £30.

(Credit: Based on an original article By SUZANNAH HILLS, PUBLISHED: 13:22, 3 June 2013, Daily Mail)

Have you had dealings with the Emergency Services in winter and during prolonged cold, icy weather? Or are you a member? What was your experience? We'd love to hear your stories. Email us, or contact us through any of our social media sites, see the clickable links in the footer below.

ICEGRIPPER has tested over 100 different ice grips, boots and other winter equipment and is happy to advise consumers and organisations on the best types of winter traction products for their needs...

Walk, work, run and play on winter ice and snow with ICEGRIPPER

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