STONEHAM — Chief Matthew Grafton wishes to remind residents to always be aware of the dangers of thin ice and to share tips for remaining safe on the ice.
“Even in the heart of winter, it’s important to always measure ice in multiple places to ensure it can handle your weight before venturing out onto it,” Chief Grafton said. “As a reminder, the only activities suitable for any frozen bodies of water in Stoneham are either walking on the ice or ice fishing as long as it is thick enough to support your weight. Please be sure to review the following tips and most importantly, always use an abundance of caution when going 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. When traveling outside of Stoneham, resident are reminded, in general, that 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 Tips:
- 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 you or someone you’re with should someone 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 decays, 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 Stoneham Fire Department at 781-438-0127.