When temperatures drop below freezing, deceiving and dangerous icy conditions can form on ponds and lakes that make them unsafe to stand on or walk over.

The Columbus Fire Department is prepared to conduct rescue missions in icy waters, but urges residents to stay away from ice-covered bodies of water to avoid falling through the ice.

If a person or pet dog does fall into icy waters, call 911 immediately.

The Columbus Fire Department also recommends the following safety tips:

Take Precautions

  • Never leave a child or pet dog unattended around icy bodies of water.
  • Always keep your pets on a leash.
  • If a pet dog falls through the ice do not attempt to rescue your dog. Call 911 for help.
  • Slush is a danger sign, indicating that ice is no longer freezing from the bottom and can be weak or deteriorating.
  • Ice seldom freezes or thaws at a uniform rate.  It can be one foot thick in one spot and be only a few inches thick 10 feet away.

If You Fall In

  • Do not panic.
  • Turn toward the direction you came from.
  • Place your hands and arms onto the ice and place your body against the edge of the ice.
  • Kick with your legs to push yourself forward out of the water, onto the ice, and keep trying until you are on solid ice.
  • Remain lying down to keep your weight distributed evenly.
  • Roll away from the hole and crawl back towards the shore.
  • Reach for rope, a pole, or any other item that has been extended you to from someone on dry land.

How to Help a Victim

  • Call 911. Do not put yourself in danger by going out onto the ice.
  • If you see someone fall through ice remember to “Reach, Throw and Go”
  • Reach from shore with a rope, pole, ladder, tree branch, jumper cables or similar object.
  • Throw something to keep them afloat such as a life preserver or boat seat cushion.
  • Go to find supplies, help or call 911.