Ice-covered ponds and lakes can be unstable

Credit: Troy Colson/KTVB

Ice-covered ponds and lakes can be unstable

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by Karen Zatkulak

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KTVB.COM

Posted on January 28, 2013 at 6:33 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 25 at 1:17 PM

BOISE -- With the freezing weather continuing, the frozen lakes and ponds will continue to be a concern as well.

Local authorities are doing everything they can to be ready for an ice rescue, and they also want you to know how to protect your family.

On Monday, Eagle firefighters went through a practice run. For several weeks they have been training all of their 52 employees for an ice rescue.

But on Sunday there was a real emergency.

The Boise Fire Department tells us on Monday a dog fell through an icy pond in west Boise. They say despite rescue efforts, the dog didn't survive.

We caught up with Eagle resident Ray Hansen. He lives next to the pond where firefighters have been training, and says it is a concern.

"It's only been a couple weeks that the ice has been on the water, so we are concerned about it," said Hansen.

The freezing lakes and ponds are a worry for many who live nearby, especially those with wandering dogs.

Hansen keeps his dog on a leash. "He always wants to head to the water, but we keep him away as much as possible," he said.

Eagle Fire Division Chief Bill Stone says the best advice is to stay off the ice. But he does have some tips if you do fall in.

Stone says you should scream and wave your arms for help since you only have about five minutes before your hands go numb.

He adds that if you see someone else fall in, call for help first. "Make contact with the person and let them know help is on the way and then immediately call 911," said Stone.

He says if you decide to walk out onto the ice, there are some signs to show you what's unsafe.

"With the fluctuating temperatures we are now starting to get, by looking at the ice if there is slush or water on top, that should be a cue to you that the ice is not stable and you should not go out there," said Stone.

Stone says make sure you, your children, and your pets don't fall through -- don't trust a couple inches of ice!

"Somebody says yeah it's four or five inches thick, that doesn't guarantee that it's going to be strong, that has to be formed perfectly to get all the strength you can out of that particular thickness," said Stone.

Stone tells us even though you want to help, don't follow someone out onto the ice who has fallen in.

After you call authorities, try to reach a branch or throw a rope out to them to pull them to safety.


He says keep in mind that the falling snow is only adding more weight and more danger to the ice.

 

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