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Reno Fire Department reminds residents to take safety precautions around ice

Local lakes and ponds become dangerous attractions as winter nears

Post Date:12/12/2017 2:54 PM
Recent subfreezing temperatures have caused ice to form on area lakes and ponds. Therefore, the Reno Fire Department (RFD) would like to remind anyone who enjoys outdoor winter activities of the importance of safety when around ice.

Under no circumstances should residents attempt to walk or drive on rivers, lakes, ponds or any other body of water that is iced over. RFD strongly urges the community to avoid playing on the ice, and to avoid allowing their pets to play on the ice.

With winter break approaching for most local schools, parents also need to communicate with their children that when they are outside playing, avoid the ice. The ice in the Truckee Meadows is rarely solid enough to support a human, or anything heavier for that matter.

RFD maintains a Water Entry Team (WET) made up of 30 personnel trained as Swift Water Rescue and Ice Rescue Technicians. The team responds to an average of 45 calls for service annually, and trains monthly on water and ice rescue skills to maintain proficiency.

The Reno Fire Department offers the following facts and tips regarding ice safety:
  • If you see a person or animal in need of assistance, on or in an icy body of water, call 911 immediately. RFD is equipped to respond immediately and effectively to an ice rescue.
  • Reassure the victim that help is on the way and encourage them to make their way to shore. Bystanders may attempt to reach the victim from shore with long objects or by throwing rope, but should only do so from a safe location on shore.
  • Ice that has already claimed one victim indicates weakness and will likely claim any others on the ice. Entering the water without appropriate training and equipment will likely incapacitate any would-be rescuer.
  • If a person falls in the water, they will have less than 10 minutes of purposeful muscle movement, which includes any chance of them grasping a thrown or extended object to assist with rescue.
  • Recognize that ice will never be completely safe. Conditions and unseen or unknown factors can render seemingly safe ice suddenly dangerous.
  • Ice is generally thinner where there is moving water, such as inlets and outlets, bridge abutments, islands and objects that protrude through the ice.
  • Bottom line: Ice in Northern Nevada is not a place to play. Otherwise, be safe and enjoy the outdoors!
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