GEORGETOWN — Chief Fred A. Mitchell Jr. would like to remind residents to be aware of potentially thin ice as the temperature continues to fluctuate.
“Although we’re in the heart of winter, temperatures have risen at times over the last few weeks, causing some ice melt and create potentially unsafe conditions for those looking to walk, skate or fish on the ice,” Chief Mitchell said. “We encourage residents to follow these tips and to always use an abundance of caution when going out onto the ice.”
The Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs recommends measuring ice in multiple places before testing it with your weight. Ice that is two inches thick or less should be avoided completely. Four inches or more is considered safe for ice fishing or any other activity on foot. Five inches of ice is recommended for snowmobiles or ATVs. Eight to 12 inches is needed for a small car, while a foot to 15 inches is recommended for trucks.
General Ice and Cold Water Safety:
- Never go onto the ice alone. A friend may be able to rescue you from shore or go for help if you fall through the ice.
- Go out onto the ice prepared. Make sure to have a cell phone with you in case of emergency, as well as rope or ice picks to help should you or someone you’re with fall in.
- 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 indicates 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 more dangerous and should be avoided.
- 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, call 911. If 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, but do not attempt to go out onto the ice to rescue them. 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. Once safe, find shelter and change out of your wet clothes. Seek medical assistance immediately.
If you have any questions, call the Georgetown Fire Department at 978-352-5757. If you feel that someone may be in danger, call 911.