Be careful on the ice, beware of ponds and lakes, warns Eastside Fire and Rescue

Icy conditions that the Valle is experiencing this week not only creates hazards on the roads for drivers, but cold weather conditions can also present their share of hazards to children and adults on small lakes or retention ponds, warns staff at Eastside Fire and Rescue.

The weather service reports freezing conditions will continue through the weekend.

Each year, EFR responds to calls where children and adults playing on these bodies of  water end up falling through the ice, needing to be rescued.

So when is ice safe? There is no sure answer.  Ice is tricky, and just because a lake or stream is frozen doesn’t mean the ice is safe.  A layer of ice is seldom frozen evenly.  It can be a foot thick in one spot and only a quarter of an inch thick in another.  The biggest risk on a frozen body of water is that of falling through the ice.  This can be fatal, as it is very difficult to climb out of freezing water risking drowning and suffering from hypothermia.

Natural ice is very unpredictable; it can crack even when you think it has sufficient thickness to accommodate your weight.  The urge to get on the ice may be overwhelming, especially to children, however, the potential for a disaster is far outweighed by a winter of good fun.

Please take extra precautions while out on or near our retention ponds and small lakes.  Have a buddy with you when venturing on or near any body of water, and always wear a life vest.   The best advice is to avoid these potentially hazardous areas if at all possible.

EFR provides fire, rescue and medical aid in North Bend, Carnation, the Lower Valley and surrounding communities.

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