Important Things to Remember
- Never assume the ice is safe.
- The only safe ice is at an ice rink.
- Never skate on an untested lake or pond.
- The ice should have a minimum of at least 6 inches.
- Never skate alone.
- Only skate during the day or if an area is illuminated.
- Know the body of water, nearby street, and where the nearest location is to go for help.
- Never use ice for a shortcut.
- Never go out onto the ice after an animal or toy.
With respect to the ice strength, a point of great importance to skaters and others is that you cannot tell the strength of the ice simply by its looks and thickness, the daily temperature, or whether or not the ice is covered with snow. The strength of ice is determined by several factors:
- Chemistry of the water (salt or fresh)
- Local climatic factors such as wind, snow, rain, and temperature fluctuations can vary considerably from day to day
- The presence of currents such as at stream inflows/outflows, and along streams or rivers
- The presence of springs and the size and depth of the lake or pond
- The distribution of the weight or load placed on the ice
- The signs of expansion cracks
What to Do When Someone Has Fallen Through the Ice
For immediate response, call 911.
Do not attempt to rescue the victim. If the ice could not support their weight, it will not support your weight. Try to calm and reassure the victim and have them stay afloat. Go to a nearby location and call 911 for help. Also, wait for emergency responders to bring them to the exact location of the victim. If with a responsible adult, have the adult return to try and assist the victim from shore.
First, is to provide a victim with something to help them stay afloat such as plastic milk or soda bottles, or a spare tire. If the victim is stable and afloat try to send something to reach and retrieve the victim such as a rope, extension cord, ladder, branch, boat, or tying clothes together. If the victim is retrieved to shore, take steps to keep the victim warm (change clothes, wrap in a blanket) until rescue personnel arrive.
It takes at least 5 to 7 days of temperatures in the low 20s before ice may become safe. The Town of Westborough does not monitor ice thickness. Use ice at your own risk.
Thanks to the Rhode Island Division of Parks and Recreation for this information.