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BOISE -- This December we have seen quite a bit of snow and ice accumulation, and that has some emergency officials worried about a possible increase in accidents involving thin ice.

It happens more often than you might think.

So what do you need to know before you head out to play this winter?

You are walking along outside in the snow and then all of a sudden you find yourself submerged in icy cold water that you didn't know was even there.

Experts say within just five to 10 minutes of being in icy water, your body will start to succumb to hypothermia. That makes it even harder to get out the situation by yourself.

When you immerse yourself in ice water, you will kind of lose your breath and initially probably a lot of movement trying to get out, but eventually that cold water is taking away a lot of energy that you have, said Bill Stone with the Eagle Fire Department.

Stone says the best thing to do is stay clear of possible thin ice by walking around bodies of water.

And if you see an animal stuck in the ice, it's best to call the fire department for help rather than trying to rescue that animal yourself.

The Eagle Fire Department has special ice rescue suits that can handle those cold waters. Both the Boise and Eagle Fire Departments have yearly trainings scheduled to practice cold water rescues.

The thing is -- you just don't know how thick ice is when it appears to be frozen.

It could be strong enough to hold you -- or not.

So experts advise you and your pets to stay clear of ice this time of year.

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