Beware of Thin Ice!

Published January 2, 2008 | Fire Department | Automatically Archived on 4/15/2008

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How thick is “safe” ice?  Ice on moving water in rivers, streams, and brooks is never safe.  The thickness of ice on ponds and lakes depends upon water currents or springs, depth and natural objects such as tree stumps or rocks.  Daily changes in temperature cause the ice to expand and contract which affects its strength.  Because of these factors, no one can declare the ice to be absolutely “safe”.  For these reasons the Sudbury Fire Department does not evaluate local ice for safety and instead we say that the only “safe” ice is at a skating arena.

If someone falls through the ice –

  • Act quickly and call 911 for help immediately.

  • DO NOT go out onto the ice.  Many times would-be rescuers become victims themselves.

  • Reach, Throw, or Row.  Extend a branch, pole or ladder to the victim.  Throw them a bouyant object such as a life ring or float tied to a rope.  If a boat is nearby row out to the victim or push it toward them.

You can find a “FireFACTORS” document on Ice and Cold Water Safety at

Stay safe!