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Ice Safety Tips Offered After Teen Dies Near Columbus

Following the death of a teenager who fell through thin ice at a Bartholomew County lake Wednesday, Indiana conservation officers are reminding Hoosiers of ways to stay safe around frozen bodies of water.  In fact, conservation officer Angie Goldman said her department has a saying about ice safety.

“There is no such thing as safe ice, just safer ice."

Goldman said ice must be at least three-to-four inches thick before it can support a person’s body weight, and several inches thicker than that before structures or vehicles can be on it.  The best way to determine the thickness, she said , is to bring a pick or a shovel and make a hole – or, better still, a few holes.

“The best thing to do is to make several holes in the area.  You know, if you’re going to clear an area to ice skate or just to venture out on it.  And make sure that the ice is thick all over that area,” she said.

Goldman advises that any activities which take place on ice are not entered into alone.  Additionally, she suggests wearing a life vest under one’s coat, carrying a whistle or some other noisemaker to call for help if the ice breaks and purchasing a small pick to help get hold of the ice should you fall underwater and need to extricate yourself.  If someone you’re with falls through the ice, Goldman said it’s important to first call for help and only then attempt to rescue the person in the water.  The best way to do that is to offer a rope or a long tree branch to the person in danger and to approach them from the side of the hole through which they fell in, in order to avoid falling in yourself.

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