Andover Fire Rescue Encourages Residents to Avoid Thin Ice

Andover Fire Rescue
Chief Michael B. Mansfield
32 North Main St.
Andover, MA 01810

For Immediate Release

Monday, Jan. 14, 2019

Contact: John Guilfoil
Phone: 617-993-0003
Email: [email protected]

Andover Fire Rescue Encourages Residents to Avoid Thin Ice

ANDOVER — Fire Chief Michael Mansfield would like to remind residents that any ice over town waterways is too thin and should be avoided until later in the season.

Though temperatures have been colder lately, Andover Fire Rescue warns it has not been cold enough for long enough to make it safe to walk, skate or fish on the ice.

“We generally consider all ice to be unsafe because there are simply too many variables, including ice thickness and water currents under the ice, so it’s best to simply stay away from icy surfaces,” Chief Mansfield said. 

Chief Mansfield encourages residents to be mindful of these safety tips throughout the winter when considering whether ice is thick enough to support their weight.

Thin Ice

The Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs says ice should always be measured in multiple places before testing it with your weight. Ice two inches thick or less should be avoided completely. Ice with a depth of four inches or more is considered safe for ice fishing or other activities on foot. Five inches of ice is recommended for snowmobiles or ATVs. Eight to 12 inches is necessary for a small car, while 12 to 15 inches of ice is necessary for trucks.

General Ice and Cold Water Safety:

  • Never go onto the ice alone. A friend may be able to rescue you or go for help if you fall through the ice.
  • Always keep your pets on a leash. If a pet falls through the ice do not attempt a rescue. Call 911 instead.
  • New ice is usually stronger than old ice. As the ice ages, the bond between the crystals decay, making it weaker, even if melting has not occurred.
  • Beware of ice covered with snow. Snow can insulate ice and keep it strong, but can also insulate it to keep it from freezing.
  • Slush is a danger sign, indicating that ice is no longer freezing from the bottom and can be weak or deteriorating.
  • Ice formed over flowing water (rivers or lakes containing a large number of springs) is generally 15 percent weaker.
  • Ice seldom freezes or thaws at a uniform rate. It can be one foot thick in one spot and be only one inch thick 10 feet away.

What To Do If Someone Falls Through Ice

  • Reach-Throw-Go: If someone falls through the ice and you are unable to reach that person from shore, throw them something (rope, jumper cables, tree branch, etc.) If this does not work, go for help before you also become a victim. Get medical assistance for the victim immediately.
  • If you fall in, try not to panic. Turn toward the direction you came from. Place your hands and arms on the unbroken surface, working forward by kicking your feet. Once out, remain lying on the ice (do not stand) and roll away from the hole. Crawl back to your tracks, keeping your weight distributed until you return to solid ice.

If you have any questions, call Andover Fire Rescue at 978-475-1281. If you feel that someone may be in danger, dial 911.

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