State-wide warning against going on ice in Massachusetts

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(DCR photo by Ryan Hutton)
Thinning ice, like the kind seen here recently on Breakheart Reservations’ Lower Pond in Saugus, presents a danger to anyone trying to walk on it. Be sure to consider all the factors before walking out on any ice-covered body of water.

BOSTON, Mass (WWLP) – The Department of Conservation and Recreation has issued a state-wide warning about the dangers of walking on ice over bodies of water in Massachusetts.

Due to there being multiple ice rescues in the commonwealth such as in Spencer and Sturbridge on Sunday, DCR released a news release on Mass.gov with a list of ways to stay safe on or near the ice.

Given the warmer weather recently, going on ice is more dangerous than usual. Residents should keep off ice that is two inches or less thick. You can ice fish when the ice is at least four inches thick. Ice five to six inches thick will support snowmobiles and ATVs, and eight to 12 inches of ice will hold small cars and trucks. The ice needs to be 12 to 15 inches thick to support medium-sized trucks.

According to the news release, the following are ice safety tips the public should follow when near bodies of water during the winter months:

  • Parents should supervise their children
  • Never go onto ice alone
  • Always keep your pets on a leash, and do not let them out off-leash near bodies of water that are covered by ice
  • Beware of ice covered with snow. Snow can insulate ice and keep it from freezing. It can also hide cracks as well as other weak spots
  • Ice formed overflowing water (including springs under the surface) is generally weaker than ice over still water
  • Ice seldom freezes or thaws at a uniform rate. It can be a foot thick in one spot or an inch thick in another
  • If a companion falls through the ice and you are unable to reach that person from shore, throw something to them (a rope, tree branch, even jumper cables from a car, etc.). If this does not work, go or phone for help. Get medical assistance for the victim immediately
  • If you fall in, try not to panic. Turn toward the direction you came from, and place your hands and arms on the unbroken surface, working forward by kicking your feet. Once the ice is solid enough to hold you, and you can pull yourself out, remain lying on the ice (do not stand, lying down spreads your weight across a wider area, lessening your weight on any one spot) and roll away from the hole. Crawl back the way you came, keeping your weight distributed, until you return to solid ice or ground
  • As the season progresses, plan accordingly and use caution, as the conditions of older ice greatly varies and is subject to rapid changes.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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