At the event, Troopers assigned to the State Police Underwater Recovery Unit and the State Police Marine Section demonstrated a simulated recovery. Lieutenant William Freeman, Commander of the State Police Underwater Recovery Unit stated, "This year we have already experienced one thin ice incident. Fortunately there were no serious injuries. These safety tips aim to prevent a tragic situation from occurring."
The following winter ice safety tips were provided:
- Use designated ice surfaces.
Many communities have designated ponds or outdoor ice surfaces - for activities such as skating - that are maintained by knowledgeable personnel. Designated ice should be regularly tested to ensure that it is thick enough and strong enough for recreational use.
- Measure ice thickness in several locations.
Local conditions such as currents and water depths can affect ice thickness. White ice has air or snow within it and should be considered suspect for recreational use. The recommended minimum ice thickness for new, clear, hard ice is as follows:
- 3" (7 cm) or less: STAY OFF
- 4" (10 cm): ice fishing, walking, cross-country skiing, skating
- 5" (12 cm): one snowmobile or ATV
- 8-12" (20-30 cm): one car or small pickup
- 12-15" (30-38 cm): one medium truck (pickup or van)
- Avoid traveling on ice at night or when it is snowing.
Reduced visibility increases your chances of driving onto an open or weak ice area. This is a frequent cause of ATV- and snowmobile-related drowning.
- Never go onto ice alone.
A buddy may be able to rescue you or go for help if you get into difficulty. Before you leave shore, tell someone where you are going and what time you expect to return.
- Stay off river ice and avoid the narrows between lakes.
River currents and moving water at the narrows where one lake flows into another can quickly change ice thickness or have much thinner ice than other locations on the river or on the lake.
- Wear a thermal protection buoyant suit or a lifejacket.
If you don't have a thermal protection buoyant suit, wear a lifejacket or personal flotation device over your snowmobile suit or layered winter clothing to increase your survival chances if you go through the ice.
- Take safety equipment with you.
Pack ice picks, a rope and a small personal safety kit (i.e., a pocketknife, compass, whistle, fire starter kit and cell phone) in your pocket.
- Avoid alcohol.
Alcohol impairs your judgment, coordination and reaction time and speeds up the onset of hypothermia.
- Don't drive on ice if you can avoid it. If you can't avoid it, have an escape plan.
Open your windows, unlock your doors, and turn on your lights to allow for a quick escape from your vehicle. Some ice-safety experts recommend that you have your seatbelt unfastened and your door slightly ajar to speed up an escape. Don't wear a lifejacket while riding inside an enclosed vehicle; the extra bulk and flotation could hamper your escape through a window.
Always supervise children playing on or near ice.
Children playing on or near ice should always be with a buddy and under adult supervision.