WHITESTOWN, Ind--The death of two children who fell through ice in Pike County is drawing attention to what experts call a real danger in Indiana: unsafe ice on Indiana ponds and waterways.
Now, experts are trying to give you the tools to help you stay safe.
The Whitestown Fire Department says in December, ice can be especially dangerous, particularly as temperatures continue to fluctuate.
“It’s going to warm up this weekend and then it’s going to freeze again, so that continual freezing and thawing all that does is break up the ice that’s there- so you get the deceptive look of having ice on the pond all the time, but underneath it’s not what you think it is,” said Whitestown Fire Dept. Deputy Chief of Operations Clinton Crafton.
This is why Crafton says the department is offering tips to prevent a dangerous situation.
“The best way to keep this from being a really sad news story is stay off the ice. That’s the message we really want people to understand just stay off the ice, there are plenty of places to go ice skating, you can go to the coliseum, to the forum, there lots of places where you can do that. This isn’t the place for that,” Crafton said.
Crafton says parents should keep an eye on children. He says children are more likely to have ice-related incidents so keeping them away from it is the best way to prevent an accident.
He says it’s also important to check the ice. The Department of Natural Resources says there needs to be at least four inches of ice before its considered safe for people to be on. Thicker ice is needed depending on the activity.
Finally, Crafton says if you see someone fall through make sure you call 911 immediately. He says it's never smart to go in after them as you can also become quickly incapacitated.
“Once that person’s cold they stop moving, if you go out to help them you’re done too,” he said.
In the end, the department says there’s just one way to prevent all ice accidents: stay off of ice.