How to stay safe when out on the ice - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

How to stay safe when out on the ice


Eau Claire (WQOW)- The time of year to head out on the ice is here. But keep in mind, while the temperatures may leave you feeling frozen, it does not mean the ice is.

Tim Deziel, the chief of Eau Claire Fire Department, said, "We always say no ice is safe ice. So always assume it's in no good condition…Just because one spot is good does not mean the other spot is going to be."

Ice forms differently on lakes and rivers. As stated on the Wis. Department of Natural Resources' website, "Ice may be a foot thick in one location and only an inch or two just a few feet away."

Scott Thiede, a conservation warden, said, "Clear ice is stronger than ice with snow on it or ice that has bubbles in it."

Deziel said that lakes and rivers freeze differently. "When you've got a lake that's a still body of water, ice maybe a little bit thicker, whereas you've got running water, the conditions change constantly," he said.

So, Eau Claire firefighters said you should constantly be testing the ice as you venture out, and it is a good idea to prepare for the worst." Having a flotation device and wearing it, having the spikes that you can help yourself to help self-rescue and having a way to call for help is always important," Deziel said.

So how can you tell when the ice is ready? The Wis. DNR said there is no sure answer. You should never judge the strength of ice based on factors like appearance, age, thickness or temperature.

Thiede said, "Ice seldom freezes uniformly. Think of ice as water that may or may not support you or your vehicle. There are a lot of factors that determine whether ice is going to be safe."

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