Recent cold weather has led to ice formation on many area ponds and canals. The ongoing cold weather will only increase the amount of freezing. Ice covered waters are unsafe and can be very inviting, especially to children. Over the weekend parents should warn their children not to play on or near the ice. Likewise, all adults should keep watch over waters in their neighborhoods to keep children away. Balls and toys have the tendency to be blown onto the ice and inquisitive children may be lured onto the ice. This presents an extremely dangerous situation since the normal ice thickness in the Hampton Roads area will not support the weight of even a small child.
Experts recommend a minimum clear ice thickness of four inches before permitting ice sports. The Hampton Roads area has not experienced sustained temperatures low enough to create that amount of freezing. In fact, this region is seldom cold enough to cause that much ice formation.
Common themes in ice-related drowning incidents include:
· Children playing on ice
· Child slipping on ice-covered bank and falling into water
· Adults attempting to rescue children
· Adults crossing ice to rescue pet who had fallen through ice
· Pets that become stranded on the ice
Should you observe a person falling through the ice, call 911 immediately. Do not go onto the ice yourself since you are likely to become a victim. You should try to reach the victim by throwing a rope, or a floatation device. Wait until the fire department arrives before entering the cold water. The fire department is equipped with portable inflatable boats and special cold water survival suites.
If you have any questions about ice safety, please contact the Virginia Beach Fire Department at 385-4228 or Battalion Chief Tim Riley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 757-377-0134.
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