Neighborhood ponds and area waterways are icing over and children, as well as adults, are tempted to venture onto the ice for recreational purposes however, the Plainfield Fire Protection District asks everyone to stay off the ice. Only go onto ice in approved areas where the ice has been checked by someone trained to judge ice conditions. Many factors determine the strength of ice including: its age, thickness, the temperature, snow cover, water depth, the size of the body of water, water currents and water chemistry; all of which can be hard to determine until it’s too late. Additionally, ice can weaken during extreme cold snaps because it becomes brittle. There is no such thing as 100% safe ice, and any ice that is over a moving body of water, such as a river, should always be considered weak and unsafe. Please tell children to stay off the ice on neighborhood ponds and keep pets from venturing onto the ice as well.

If someone falls through ice immediately call 9-1-1 to get rescue personnel on the way. Do not go out on the ice yourself; the ice did not support them so most likely it won’t support you either. While waiting for rescue personnel to arrive throw things towards the person to help them stay afloat such as a life jacket or empty water jug. You could try throwing them a rope or similar device to attempt to pull them to shore. Reassure them that help is on the way and if they do get out of the water take measures to keep them warm while waiting for rescue personnel to arrive.

Every winter Plainfield Fire Protection District personnel practice their ice rescue skills. This training emphasizes rescue techniques including how rescuers should distribute their weight on the ice and self rescue. Pictured are Lt. Eric Jensen and Firefighter/Paramedic Jenae Williamson during recent ice rescue training. For more information please call the Plainfield Fire Protection District at (815) 436-5335 ext. 7314.