Although many people believe ice is safe after a cold snap and even though they may see some animals on the ice and the snow covering it. We at the Saranac Lake Volunteer Fire Department believe that "NO ICE IS SAFE ICE".
Ice forms under many conditions. The cold air creates cold surface water, and at a given point the surface water begins to freeze. The type of ice is determined by many factors such as wind, snow, rain, and how fast the surface froze.
Ice is seldom the same at the shore as it is in the middle of the lake. Moving water can and will affect the type of ice and how it is formed. (A local example of this is found on Lake Flower in the channel near state route 86, or Lake Colby where the springs open certain spots of ice holes) Ice not only depends on its thickness but also on how it was formed. Good clear blackish ice is stronger than snow layer ice or slush ice.
We understand the sport of going on the ice with snow machines, four wheelers and even some people are willing to risk driving an automobile on the ice. It seems that every year someone goes through the ice and then wants someone else to risk their life recovering the automobile that should not have been on the ice in the first place.
Ice is not all the same and most people cannot tell the difference between real good ice and poor ice. We would believe that 8-10 inches of good ice is acceptable for snowmobile races and ice hockey games. But as said earlier "NO ICE IS SAFE ICE"!!!
It is very important to teach children not to venture out onto the Ice.
Remember that if your pet goes through the Ice, you probably will also. It has been noted that animals are better at self rescue than humans. If you try to rescue them and break through the ice, the situation has just been compounded and you become the primary rescue effort with your pet being the secondary effort.
So plan on self rescue by following a few tips we suggest and hopefully all of us can safely enjoy the winter months.
If you do decide to venture on the ice we would recommend the minimum equipment:
* A good walking stick that can be used to sound the ice.
* A personal flotation device
* A set if ice awls (They can be made out of screw drivers or purchased to carry in case you fall through the ice).
* A good whistle for sounding your location is crucial this will help in notifying people where you are.
Remember if you succeed in self rescue do not stand up on the ice once out of the ice hole. Roll away from the hole. Stay low and crawl to safe ice. Standing up concentrates your body weight on a small portion of ice. If you keep moving and crawl your weight is spread out over a wider ice formation and your chance of breaking through is reduced.
The dedicated members of the SLVFD spend a great deal of time, effort, and resources training and preparing to deal with surface ice emergencies. Please help us help you by being safety conscious and not becoming an unnecessary victim of an ice rescue or recovery.
Remember No Ice is Safe Ice!!!