Fire/Rescue: Stay off the ice

With a winter storm bearing down, it’ll get cold enough in some places for ponds in the neighborhood you live in to freeze over if they haven’t already at some point this winter.

Search and rescue experts with the Indianapolis Fire Department are advising that unless it’s at a designated lake where the ice gets think enough, you should not venture out onto the ice on top of the retention pond your subdivision or over a nearby river or creek.

Capt. Jerry Richert, who heads up the special operations division of IFD, says they train for this every year. Already they have had several calls about people falling through icy ponds and even people driving into ponds and rivers that are iced over.

“A lot of times when we get ice and then snow on top of the ice, the river can actually look like part of the road,” Richert said to WISH-TV. “We plan for this and train for this because every winter things like this happen.”

On Monday IFD was called to two places where cars had driven off roads and into frozen bodies of water.

The National Weather Service is calling mostly for snow in northern Indiana with an incoming winter storm, but the further south you go you’ll see more of a mixture of snow and ice. These are prime conditions for ponds to freeze over in subdivisions.

Richert said retention ponds are different, which is why he says you need to stay off of them.

“Our ice here is dangerous. It’s hard to tell how thick it is,” he said. “All our ponds are contaminated with bird feces. Whatever runs off from the neighborhoods goes into these ponds. They’re contaminated so the ice isn’t truly as safe as you think it is.”

Richert says all those factors affect the structural integrity of the ice. He suggests that if you have the itch to ice skate you go to your local ice skating rink.

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