COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - Officials across Middle Tennessee urged residents to stay off of frozen lakes and ponds as temperatures have not been consistently cold enough to create ice thick enough to walk or skate on.
According to state resource officers, ice under 4 inches thick is never safe to walk on and even at that thickness temperatures across the state have fluctuated too frequently in recent weeks to create surfaces that could safely hold a person without them falling in.
This was the scene in the Hickory Hills neighborhood today as kids were playing on ice that formed on a pond. It is mighty cold, and the unstable ice is no place to play. We don’t want anyone to experience the shock of falling through. If you see this taking place, call us! pic.twitter.com/v4TT82Ej8S— Mt. Juliet Police (@MtJulietPolice) January 2, 2018
The biggest danger isn’t the ice itself but severe hypothermia which could set in in minutes after a person falls through ice.
“When cracks start appearing in ice that means the strength of the ice and the integrity of the ice is weakening,” said Daniel Harris with the Putnam County Rescue Squad.
Harris warns that no ice in the area is currently safe to stand on but offers tips if you find yourself being rescued.
First, don’t panic. You need to conserve your bodies energy as much as possible to keep hypothermia from setting in. If you see someone who needs to be rescues, don’t go out onto the ice yourself and risk putting your own life in danger. Instead call 9-1-1 and if the situation is dire find a rope or tree branch to try and reach the person who has fallen through.
Once rescuers reach you, Harris’ advice is to try to keep your body on top of the ice as much as possible so that you can be safely pulled back to shore.