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Safety officials warn about the dangers of frozen lakes and ponds

As the temperatures begin to rise frozen bodies of water will start to thaw making again making them dangerous to walk or fish on.
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Posted at 6:39 PM, Dec 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-27 08:55:13-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Frozen bodies of water can be enticing during this time of the year but looks can be deceiving. That's why fire fighters say you should stay off retention ponds in neighborhoods.

" As the temperatures go up and down here in Indiana that makes for poor ice,” Mike Pruitt the Deputy Chief of Bargersville Fire Department said. “So even though we might get online and read 2-4 inches is safe ice to walk on that is somewhere that you have sustained freezing temperatures for a long period of time."

However, some people venture out on frozen lakes to fish, especially in the norther part of Indiana. If you do venture out there are a few steps the department of natural resources says you should take before doing so.

" Have a life jacket on just in case and always check the thickness of the ice wherever you are going,” Jet Quillen with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources said. “We recommend that you have 4 good clear clean solid inches of ice before you even venture on to any body of water that is frozen. "

Andrew Barr is a ice fisherman. He's been ice fishing most of his life. He feels it's a little too early to be out on the ice.

"I would test it but if it wasn't right now, I wouldn't be on it,” Barr said. “I know there's other people who have been on the ice but I'm not convinced it's truly ready. "

When he does decide to venture out he plans on bringing a friend.

"I always take out a friend or someone else with me it's always good to have the buddy system,” Barr said.

While ice fishing and other winter activities can be fun, emergency situations happen. Which is why fire fighters say if you see someone fall through the ice don't try and save them yourself.

" First, we want to dial 9-1-1 right away,” Pruitt said. “The next thing we don't want to do is go out on that ice and try to rescue that individual because we could become a victim also. Especially if it's a child now you’re a larger person now you’re going out there to rescue that child you could end up becoming a victim also. "

There are ways to test how thick the ice is. You can do so with an ice chisel, auger, or cordless drill. Safety officials say if you are moving around on the ice, it's important to see how thick it is before moving because not all bodies of water freeze evenly. For information how to safely check how thick ice is click here.

There is more important information the Bargersville fire department would like people to know. Ponds do not freeze evenly. So, what may look like solid ice in one area, may not be solid at all in another spot.

Call authorities if you see kids playing on an icy pond, and verbally tell them to leave. Also keep pets off the ice as well. If you see someone fall through the ice call 911. If possible, throw something to the person like a rope, extension cord, or anything that will float.