Chief Fred A. Mitchell Jr. and the Georgetown Fire Department would like to remind residents to be cognizant of thin ice as temperatures continue to fluctuate.
Even despite extreme cold in the early part of this week, the Georgetown Fire Department warns may be unsafe to walk, skate or fish on the ice.
“Though it’s been very cold for the last few days, it’s still very likely that any ice over open water is not strong enough to support someone’s weight,” Chief Mitchell said. “It’s best to avoid going on the ice at all, and we encourage residents to avoid doing so.”
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 the Georgetown Fire Department at 978-352-5757. If you feel that someone may be in danger, dial 911.