Spring Ice Safety

For folks who enjoy on-ice activities like ice fishing and snowmobiling, this has been a great winter thanks in large part to our well-below average temperatures. Itâ??s easy to get the sense that this ice will last a very long time. But itâ??s slowly starting to melt now.

Kevin Wisely, Commissioner of the Onondaga County Department of Emergency Management, concurs. â??Unfortunately, people will be thinking that, that because weâ??ve had such a cold winter, and it has been below zero a number of times, we get lulled into the fact thinking that this ice is going to stay for a long time into the season. However, the ice is going to begin to flow, weâ??re starting to get the snow melt, and it does become more of a hazardous condition.â??

I asked the commissioner what people should be mindful of if theyâ??re heading out on the ice.

â??Well, they really should be thinking about, first, verifying the ice. Anything less than 2 inches of new ice really people should stay off of. Itâ??s very dangerous. You really need to have 4 inches of new ice, solid ice, to even go out to do ice fishing, and to go out for foot traffic out on the ice. If you are going to venture out on the ice, you need to be thi8nking about â??ok, what do I do if I was to go through the ice?â?? Because there are some things you can do to be a survivor, to help yourself.â??

Wisely suggests carrying ice picks, and using them to pull yourself out if you fall in. Also, if you do fall in, he says once you pull yourself out of the hole, lie flat on the ice. This will distribute your weight over a larger chunk of ice. Then, slowly roll away from the hole until you can safely stand.

Preparing with information and tools will help keep you safe on the ice, and avoid putting emergency responders in danger.