If you love winter activities like snowmobiling or ice fishing, you’re most likely chomping at the bit to get out on a frozen lake.
Old Man Winter is expected to do the job soon, and before he does, area police hope we learn from the lessons of the past.
“Folks just aren’t paying attention to what happened the year before,” says Lt. Steven Stockdale, of the Warren County Sheriff’s Office.
Stockdale says they respond to reports of vehicles and snowmobiles that have fallen thru thin ice.
“We pull out all the stops for ice and water rescues. Every fire company and emergency service provider on the lake is activated and we are putting those people at risk as well.”
He says owners get a bill for retrieval of cars and snowmobiles as well hefty environmental hazard fines. But, it’s far worse when they pay for carelessness with their lives.
“Worst case scenario is a recovery effort where somebody does not resurface and we have to send divers down, and then we’ve got to go tell somebody that a loved one is never coming home. That’s tough. That’s tough to do.”
So what’s the rule of thumb when it comes to ice thickness and safety?
NEWS10 ABC Chief Meteorologist Steve Caporizzo says four inches is ideal. However, he adds that it’s good to know the dynamics of the waterway, especially underwater springs and inlets that effect the temperature and currents under the ice. He also suggests outfitting yourself with ice spikes to crawl out if you fall through thin ice.
Most important: Don’t go out alone and ALWAYS let others know where you are.