HASLETT - With temperatures rising and dropping at different rates this winter, ice on lakes can be unstable to walk or skate on. To ensure a safe trip to the lake for some ice skating fun, here are some things to look for before going out on the ice.
According to the Snow Sports Zone, the first thing you should do to decide whether or not the ice is safe to go on is to take a step close to the shore and listen for cracking. If you hear any cracking, do not risk going out on the ice, it is not safe.
From cracks to cloudiness, there are many ways to identify dangerous ice on lakes. Anywhere that the ice is cracked or has appeared to thaw and refreeze can be a hazard. These areas are more likely to be weak.
The website also says another tell tale is whether there is snow on the ice. If there is, the ice is not safe. This is because snow is warmer than ice, and it can insulate and melt it. Snow can also put a lot of pressure on the ice and the more weight that is on the surface, the more likely it will break.
Slush is often a sign of freezing and thawing repeatedly, making the ice weaker, so if you see areas that look slushy, they are not safe to be on. Color is also an indicator of whether or not ice is safe to be on. If the ice is not crystal clear, that means the ice is old and more likely to crack.
Along with signs to look for on the ice, the Snow Sports Zone offers some steps to take in terms of safety. The website said to never go on the ice alone, to never go in the dark, to never go on ice while impaired, this includes being under the influence of any substance. It also said to not stand near broken ice, the smallest amount of pressure can have serious consequences.
If anything were to happen out on the ice, the Snow Sports Zone says to call 911 and follow the mantra, “Preach, Reach, Throw, Row and Go.”
Preach means to communicate to someone who has fallen in the ice by telling them to keep treading, stay calm, and to kick their legs to prop themselves on the ice.
Reach means that if you can pull the person from the ice on land, do it. But if you can’t reach them, try and use a pole or ladder to pull them out.
If you cannot reach them from land, throw means to have a firm grip on a rope or garden hose and throw it to them to pull them out of the water.
Row means that you can float out to the person on any flotation device and help them to land. If the above options did not work, you must go out and save them.
Go means to physically go out on the ice yourself by lying flat on the surface and pulling yourself along the ice. By increasing your surface area, you are less likely to fall through the ice and reach the victim.
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