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'There's no safe ice in Indiana'

Posted at 9:42 PM, Jan 20, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS -- It's estimated that 8,000 people die each year from drowning. And this time of year, a plunge through ice is often deadly. 

Icy water brings an increased danger with hypothermia, when the body's core temperature falls to a dangerous level. In cold water, that can happen in 20 minutes or less. 

"The safest thing is to say that there's no safe ice in Indiana. We could go out there and be perfectly safe this time. Come out in a day or two and it could be completely different conditions. You just don't know," Captain John Mehling with the Fishers Fire Department said. 

WATCH: Friends, neighbors mourn after man dies falling into icy Johnson County pond

Fire department dive teams routinely train for ice rescues because what may seem like thick ice can become thin a few feet away causing someone to break through and potentially drown, especially children attracted to an icy pond.

Cold water carries heat away from the body 25 times faster than air of the same temperature. 

"First thing is don't panic. You'll burn up a lot of energy and heat as you try to fight it. Yell loud and get someone's attention, and when those people come to help, make sure professionals do this, otherwise we'll have one more victim," Mehling said. 

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Fire departments say if you don't heed the warnings, at least have someone with you if you're on ice and they can call for help. 


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