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DNR Offers Ice Safety Tips

The recent cold snap has led ice to form on inland waterways, canals and along Lake St. Clair. While it may look safe, state officials recommend individuals follow some important safety tips before heading out on the ice.

Ice has started to form on inland waterways, canals and Lake St. Clair in recent weeks, much to the joy of anglers, snowmobilers and skiers.

While it may look safe, officials with the Department of Natural Resources remind those who head out on the ice to take proper safety precautions.

“All ice has the propensity to be dangerous,” said Lt. Steven Burton of the DNR’s Law Enforcement Division, said in a release. “Obviously, during some times of the year, some ice is much better than other ice, but no ice is ever completely safe ice.”

The Department of Natural Resources share these safety tips for those heading out on the ice:

Anyone who ventures out onto the ice is advised to keep the following precautions in mind:

  • Check with local sources of information -- such as the bait shop or corner store – about ice conditions before venturing out.
  • Travel in pairs whenever possible and make sure someone knows where you are going and when you plan to return.
  • Carry a spud to test the quality of the ice as you move further onto the ice.
  • Avoid inlets and outlets, areas with natural springs or currents, and places were structures – docks, pilings, dead trees or other vegetation – extend through the surface of the ice.
  • Pay attention to wind direction – especially on large bodies of water.
  • Wear a personal flotation device (PFD) and carry personal safety devices such as spikes and rope to help you get out of the water should the ice break.

Burton added that ice does not form uniformly, and there could be thin spots.

If someone sees a person fall through the ice, the DNR recommends:

  • Call 911 immediately.
  • Do not run out to the victim. If help is not immediately available, approach cautiously – lying on the ice to distribute your weight – and attempt to reach the victim with a rope, pole or ladder.
  • Take exposure victims to the hospital for treatment.

“Whether you’re an angler, a hiker, a snowmobiler or someone who simply likes to explore the outdoors, there’s no better place to be,” said Lt. Burton in a release. “Just make sure to keep ice safety as a key part of your winter recreation plans.”

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