SeaTac Fire Department Warns ‘Don’t Find Yourself on Thin Ice’ this Winter

The SeaTac Fire Department on Monday (Jan. 14) issued a statement entitled “Don’t Find Yourself on Thin Ice,” warning residents to avoid walking on iced-over standing bodies of water.

Officials remind people not to attempt to stand on ice that is less than two inches thick, and to avoid any bodies of water where the ice gets thin near the middle of say, Angle Lake, or even retention ponds.

“Because of the extended period of very cold weather in the Pacific Northwest, many standing bodies of water are icing over,” the statement reads. “This layer of ice is creating a potentially deadly trap for the unwary.”

Here’s the rest of the warning:

The SeaTac Fire Department would like to remind everyone that ice coated ponds and lakes are not safe to venture onto because the layer of ice we see is much too thin to support a person’s weight.

This information leads people to ask the question, when is the ice safe to walk on? According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, people should never stand on ice less than two inches thick. In addition, water does not freeze into ice uniformly on a body of water. Ice that feels stable near a shoreline can get dangerously thin as you move towards the middle of the pond or lake.

How can you tell if ice is safe to stand on? You can’t. The one thing you can assume about ice locally is that it is not safe. This means for pets as well as people. Many pets can travel an unsafe distance away from the shore before plunging through the ice into the cold water due to their light body weight. This can lead to pet owners to venture out onto the ice in a rescue attempt.

Parents can be proactive by being aware of where standing bodies of water are located close to their home. Retention ponds, fish ponds, lakes, and outdoor swimming pools all pose a potential danger. Parents should talk to their kids about staying away from them. Always supervise your children whenever they are outdoors.

Know what to do. If you see someone who has fallen through ice, Call 9-1-1 immediately. Once you have called, try to throw the person a rope or something to help them float if you can do so without going out onto the ice yourself. A person can lose consciousness in as little as 10 – 15 minutes. Hypothermia will set in far quicker. Once the person is out of the water, remove their wet clothing and dry the person off. Keep them warm until professional help arrives. Do not attempt to place them in a hot bath or shower.

This winter, be careful and don’t find yourself on thin ice.

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