NEWPORT— Chief Seth C. DiSanto and the Newport Police Department are reminding residents to be aware of the possibility that ice on frozen bodies of water may still be thin despite the persistent extreme cold.
Although temperatures have often been in the teens and single digits this winter, it may still be unsafe to walk, skate or fish on the ice.
“We urge residents to be extremely careful when considering whether or not to go out onto the ice,” Chief DiSanto said.
The Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs says ice should always be measured in multiple places before testing it with your weight. Ice two inches thick or less should be avoided completely. Ice with a thickness of four inches or more is considered safe for ice fishing or other activities on foot. Five inches of ice is recommended for snowmobiles or ATVs.
Eight to 12 inches is necessary for a small car, while 12 to 15 inches of ice is necessary for trucks.
Police say never go onto the ice alone since it’s unlikely you will be able to call for help if you fall through the ice. Always keep your pets on a leash. If a pet falls through the ice, do not attempt a rescue it. Call 911 instead.
New ice is usually stronger than old ice. As the ice ages, the bond between the crystals decay, making it weaker, even if melting has not occurred.
Beware of ice covered with snow. Snow can insulate ice and keep it strong, but can also insulate it to keep it from freezing.
Slush is a danger sign, indicating that ice is no longer freezing from the bottom and can be weak or deteriorating.
Ice formed over flowing water, rivers or lakes containing a large number of springs, is generally 15 percent weaker.
Ice seldom freezes or thaws at a uniform rate. It can be one foot thick in one spot and be only one inch thick 10 feet away.
What To Do If Someone Falls Through Ice?
Reach-Throw-Go: If someone falls through the ice and you are unable to reach that person from shore, throw them something (rope, jumper cables, tree branch, etc.)
If this does not work, go for help before you also become a victim. Get medical assistance for the victim immediately.
If you fall in, try not to panic. Turn toward the direction you came from. Place your hands and arms on the unbroken surface, working forward by kicking your feet.
Once out, remain lying on the ice, do not stand, and roll away from the hole. Crawl back to your tracks, keeping your weight distributed until you return to solid ice.
If you have any questions, call the Newport Police Department at 802-334-6733.
If you feel that someone may be in danger, dial 911.
“Although this winter has been consistently cold, we’ve experienced a mix of weather that can affect the safety of frozen bodies of water,” Chief DiSanto said. “We hope that everyone will keep these tips in mind to avoid falling through thin ice.”