Firefighters Warn of Ice Dangers as Warmer Weather Arrives

Published 03/06 2014 10:45PM

Updated 03/07 2014 10:08AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Warmer air is making for dangerous conditions near area waterways.

Tree trunks and branches are frozen, and there are trails of footprints on the ice at Corby Pond.

That's troubling for firefighters who want residents to stay away from the ice as it warms up.

"I really doubt we'll have any ice left. If we do, it'll be really thin, and it is very dangerous ice to be on," said Mike Wacker, St. Joseph Fire Department.

"People can get out on ice thinking that it's thicker than it is, fall through, and the water be much much colder than they're anticipating," said Curtis Alldredge, St. Joseph Fire Department.

Firefighters said walking on ice this time of year is not the best decision. The freezing water below could be deadly.

"The body will start shutting down, the blood will start shunning toward the heart, and you'll lose your feelings in the feet and in your hands. Inability to function with your muscle, and your mind won't work quite as well either," said Alldredge.

Even mild air temperatures can be dangerous water temps.

"Cold water drownings, a lot of times, can happen in waters as warm as 55 degrees," said Alldredge.

Firefighters said survival rates of cold water drownings are high.

"A healthy person, of course, could possibly stay under water for at long 30 minutes. And, once again, a child, typically the younger that they are, have been known to survive up to an hour," said Alldredge.

"The medical industry has done a lot of hypothermia on their patients," said Wacker.

Firefighters said if caught in that situation, do not fight it.

"Try to remain calm, is the best thing you can do. Get to the side of the ice, and try to roll out of it if you can," said Alldredge.

The best way to avoid this kind of accident is to stay off the ice.  If you have to go near water, firefighters recommend wearing a life vest.

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