With unseasonably warm temperatures rising above 32 degrees dangerous ice conditions prevail across the state. State Fire Marshal Julie Secontine urges Michiganders to stay off the ice.
“Thawing ice conditions on Michigan’s lakes, rivers and ponds are dangerous and unpredictable this time of year,” said Secontine. “Don’t take risks by venturing on to any ice-covered waters to avoid dangerous situations that may end in tragedy.”
Secontine said emergency personnel respond to numerous calls regarding adults, children and pets falling through the ice or stranded on floating ice cakes.
People also increase risks by using makeshift bridges to cross a crack in the ice to go further out onto a lake or river.
“Especially keep children and pets off of the ice, and never attempt a rescue yourself. Nearly 85 percent of ice emergency 9-1-1 calls are a result of individuals trying to save a pet who fell through the ice,” Secontine said.
According to Secontine, you simply cannot judge or guess about ice thickness and safety. Stay off ice that is slushy, has any water on it, or is snow covered, all that can hide weak spots and cracks. Ice that has thawed and re-frozen is weaker and appears milky. Ice is thinner and more dangerous over flowing water and strong currents, over submerged objects such as rocks or tree limbs and areas around bridges, pressure ridges and ice heaves.
“If you do see an emergency on the ice, call 9-1-1. Fire, rescue, EMS, and law enforcement personnel are trained and equipped for rescue, including the rescue of pets,” said Secontine. “We want to remind the public about how dangerous thawing bodies of water can be.”