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1/23/2014 - Beware of thin ice on local bodies of water

County Officials Warn: Beware of Thin Ice on Local Bodies of Water

In spite of current sub-freezing temperatures, Cumberland County public safety officials are urging caution when near or on area ponds, lakes and rivers. Cold weather often lures individuals -- especially children -- into a false sense of security when it comes to recreational opportunities like ice skating, or even walking out on the ice.
Emergency responders are concerned that while the ice might look solid, it’s not necessarily thick enough to hold a person’s weight. Sub-freezing temperatures are expected to continue most of the next week, but even a slight warming can affect the thickness of ice.

Officials warn that frozen ponds and waterways should never be considered 100 percent safe, even during the kind of temperatures we’ve been experiencing. The obvious danger of falling through the ice is drowning. But even those who are able to free themselves from the icy water risk hypothermia.

“Common sense should be used when around frozen waterways,” said Freeholder Director Joe Derella, public safety liaison for Cumberland County. “And children should always be supervised when on ice”.

If you plan to be on or around a frozen body of water, officials also suggest that you let others know your whereabouts and when you expect to return.

If you witnesses someone fall through the ice, it is important to not run to the victim. Experts say find something to extend to them such as a rope, ladder or cord. The item can then be used to pull the person to safety.

If you fall through the ice, try not to panic. Turn toward the direction you came from and put your arms over the edge of the ice. Work your way forward by kicking your feet. Once you are out of the water, don’t try to stand. Roll away from the hole, distributing your weight over a larger surface until you are again on more solid ice.