Stanley: Firefighters issue warning about thin ice
By Brian Stanley Life of Brianemail@example.com January 19, 2013 11:00PM
Firefighter Chris Stein rescues the victim (Capt. Ron Fox) after a fall through the ice in this training exercise. | Submitted photo
Updated: February 21, 2013 6:45AM
Joliet. The City of Champions. The Crossroads of Mid-America.
“And we’ve also become the land of 1,000 retention ponds,” Fire Capt. Ron Fox reminded me last week.
And with an unofficial average of 12-feet deep, those ponds are Fox’s biggest concern as people start playing on the frozen water.
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a unique winter activity, the fire department’s dive team leader says, provided adults and kids use common sense.
“We’d like if everyone just went skating at Inwood, but that isn’t realistic,” Fox said.
Last week firefighters practiced rescue training on a lake with about an inch of ice. Lousy for skating or hiking on, but “perfect” for cracking just as rescuers put their weight on it while trying to reach the victim, Fox said.
A reported water incident automatically brings a response of 17 firefighters to the scene.
“There’s never one victim. But parents, friends, police, bystanders (will) try to help and you’ve got multiple victims falling in,” Fox said.
All fire trucks and ambulances have immersion suits and rescue equipment and police cars have inflatable bags that can be thrown to someone in the water.
“There’s no official ‘pond patrol’ but we’re always checking as we drive through neighborhoods,” Fox said.
When temperatures are in the low 20s for a week, the ice becomes strong enough to support a small shed.
But since the thermometer has fluctuated from freezing to the 50s and back again in recent days, it’s not the time to start building that shed yet.
But when that ice is thick enough, don’t skate alone, don’t skate in the dark without illumination and know the nearest location to go for help.
If someone falls through the ice
1. Call 911.
2. Don’t go to them. If the ice couldn’t support them, it will not support you.
3. Throw them anything to help stay afloat, such as a spare tire.
4. Send a branch, rope or extension cord or tie clothes together to bring the victim to shore.
If you fall through the ice
1. Stay calm, and turn toward the direction you came from.
2. Place your arms on the unbroken ice. Work forward by kicking your feet.
3. Once you are on the ice, roll away from the hole to keep your weight distributed.