Be careful of freezing conditions on small lakes and retention ponds
December 10, 2009
NEW — 3:42 p.m. Dec. 10, 2009
With icy conditions expected through the week, retention ponds and small lakes can freeze over just enough to become dangerous.
Each year, Eastside Fire & Rescue responds to calls where children and adults playing on bodies of water end up falling through the ice, needing to be rescued.
So, when is ice safe? There is no sure answer. Ice is tricky, and just because a lake or stream is frozen doesn’t mean the ice is safe.
A layer of ice is seldom frozen evenly. It can be a foot thick in one spot and only a quarter-inch thick in another. The most important risk on a frozen body of water is falling through the ice. This can be fatal, as it is very difficult to climb out of freezing water and you risk drowning and suffering from hypothermia.
Natural ice is very unpredictable; it can crack even when you think it has sufficient thickness to accommodate your weight. The urge to get on ice may be overwhelming, especially to children. However, the potential for disaster is far outweighed by a winter of good fun.
Take extra precautions while out on or near retention ponds and small lakes. Fire officials recommend citizens avoid these potentially hazardous areas if at all possible.