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Avoid ice-covered lakes and ponds



Bargersville, Indiana – Ice formed on numerous lakes and ponds as a result of the winter storm that dumped snow, experienced strong winds, and brought below-freezing temperatures to Indiana, making the area hazardous and possibly lethal for anyone who ventures out on it.

“With temperatures fluctuating up and down and a predicted warm-up this week, these ponds can become a death trap if someone falls through the ice,” Mike Pruitt, deputy chief of the Bargersville Fire Department, said in a statement Monday.

Ponds do not always freeze evenly, according to Pruitt, particularly in central and southern Indiana.

“There is no such thing as 100% safe ice,” Pruitt added.

Pruitt advises anyone who observes youngsters playing on the ice to phone the police and order the kids to leave the rink.

Pruitt advises keeping pets away from the ice and on a leash.

“Animals will venture onto the pond and fall through. Let first responders retrieve the pet or any other animal,” Pruitt said.

Call 911 straight away if you observe someone fall through the ice, and if you can, throw them anything to help them stay afloat, such a rope or an extension cable. Never go to the rescue yourself.

Additionally, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources offers the following safety advice:

• Before going on the ice, leave a note of your whereabouts with a friend or family member.
• If you don’t know the thickness of the ice, don‘t go on it.
• Some bodies of water can appear to be frozen solid but have thin ice in several potentially unexpected areas.
• Flowing water, such as rivers and streams, should be avoided when covered by a layer of ice.

The ice should always be tested with an ice auger before going snowmobiling or ice fishing, however, the Indiana DNR advises against doing this alone. Ice should be at least 4 inches thick to allow for snowmobiling and 5 inches for ice fishing. Carry ice hooks and rope gear when out on the ice, and always wear a life jacket or flotation coat.