Winter is here and the temperatures are frigid across Indiana. For those living near a body of water, it means taking extra precautions for yourself, your children, and your pets.

Winter Has Been Anything But Typical

The weather has been unusual this year. We saw temperatures in the low 50s just last week in the southern portion of Indiana and now the mercury is measuring in the single digits with windchill at sub-zero in some parts of the state.

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Cold Temps and Snow Could Mean Ice

Now that the cold has set in, it seems like a good time for a refresher on safety precautions surrounding ice - specifically ice on bodies of water like lakes, streams, and ponds.

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"No Ice is Safe Ice"

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources reminds Hoosiers that "no ice is safe ice." The Department of Natural Resources also encourages parents to remind their children of the dangers of playing on or near icy bodies of water, especially without supervision.

Prevent Drowning

Every year, drownings happen from falling through ice. As the temperatures in the state drop below freezing, bodies of water like lakes, streams, and ponds - even the Ohio River - can start to have a layer of ice form over the top.

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Exploring the Ice May Be Exciting But It Can Be Deadly

That ice can bring with it the thrill and excitement of recreational activities but as fun as they may seem, those same activities can be incredibly dangerous. According to the Indiana DNR, activities like "ice fishing, skating, hiking, or just sliding around for fun" while ordinarily fun and exciting, have the potential to be deadly. Indiana DNR says that "no ice is safe ice."

If you don’t know the thickness of the ice, don’t go on it. Measure the thickness of ice using an ice auger. Solid ice should measure 4 inches or more for walking.

Never Go Onto Ice Alone

They advise that you should avoid going out onto ice alone and if you do venture onto the ice, you should wear a life jacket and carry ice hooks with you as a precaution.

Children Should Never Be Left Unsupervised

You should also be certain that your children know these safety tips before being allowed to play on any frozen body of water. Of course, this kind of winter play should always include adult supervision.

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How Deep is Deep Enough?

If you are unfamiliar with exploring iced bodies of water, the Indiana DNR outlines how thick the ice needs to be for various activities like ice fishing and snowmobiling. Did you know that anything less than 4 inches of ice that is "clear like you get out of your freezer" just isn't thick enough?

<div><strong>One inch of ice </strong>Stay Off!!!<strong><br /> Four inches of ice </strong>Needed for safe ice fishing<strong><br /> Five inches of ice </strong>Needed for snowmobiling<strong><br /> Eight inches of ice </strong>Needed to support the weight of a car or light truck</div><div><strong>Ten inches of ice </strong>Needed to support a medium weight truck</div>

Make Sure You Measure

Before you head out on the ice, you should also know that ice thicknesses change. While one area of a lake or pond may be thick enough to be safe, another area of the same body of water may be much thinner and more treacherous.

 Again, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources warns, "no ice is safe ice" so it may be safest just to stay off the ice entirely.


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