December 22 2017

Ice: When It's Safe and What to Do If You Fall Through

The following is a release from the Burlington Fire Department: 


Fire Chief Steven Yetman would like to remind all residents to be cognizant of thin ice as temperatures continue to fluctuate.


As temperatures go up and down snow can melt but then freeze again into slippery ice, so residents should be aware that dangerous conditions can exist on outdoor stairways, sidewalks and driveways.


The Burlington Fire Department also warns that Mill Pond Reservoir and other local bodies of water are not yet frozen enough to the point where walking, skating or ice fishing are considered safe.


"Though recent temperatures have been low, it's still too early in the season for it to be safe to go out onto open ice," Chief Yetman said. "We ask that residents and visitors follow the guidelines we've provided, and that they remain mindful of the weather at all times when considering ice-related activities."


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 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 the Burlington Fire Department at 781-270-1925. If you fear that someone may be in danger, dial 911.


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