Editorial: Warm weather brings added need for ice safety

Today’s predicted high could dance at the 50 degree mark.

Pinch us quickly, but this is mid-January – correct?

While the warmer weather is a nice respite for many this time of the year, for outdoor winter enthusiasts it has been a nightmare.

While nightmares are one thing, let’s not make them a tragic nightmare. Law enforcement agencies are warning area residents to be very safe on the ice right now and when in doubt, err on the side of caution.

Normally at this time of year ice fishing is in full swing and ice conditions really aren’t much of a concern. In some places that still is true. But in others, the fluctuating weather temperatures and high winds have created some very dangerous conditions.

Department of Natural Resources officials warn residents that “no ice is ever 100 percent safe.” As a result, they urge the following:

  • Check with locals 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.

A little bit of common sense goes a long way in ice safety. Be safe and not a statistic this winter.