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Video: Safety tips for winter recreation on frozen lakes

Dec 09, 2020 04:44AM ● By Editor

Watch the WDIO-TV Report here

Photo: WDIO-TV

By Alejandra Palacios from WDIO-TV - December 8, 2020 

The St. Louis County Sheriff's Office and local resorts are reminding people to keep ice safety in mind after two teens and their ATV's broke through the ice on the Fish Lake Reservoir Monday afternoon.

"Always check with resorts on the ice conditions just don't go off by what people say so always check with us. Where I let people go fishing, I'm very confident on the ice conditions and where they sit," said Hi-Banks Resort owner Tim Wagner.

It's likely there will be more people than usual on the lakes this winter to get out of the house during this health pandemic. Wagner said to do this with caution though, especially if you aren't experienced since a frozen lake can be deceiving.

"A lot of people too I just wanted to stress, walk along the shorelines or drive their four wheelers and ice skate along the shorelines and there are springs on this lake. I got a couple of them close to here that don't freeze all the way," said Wagner.

"You need to plan for what you're doing. You're going out there so you need to let somebody know where you're going and what time you plan to be back and then the clothing, you need to prepare to be in the water, and not necessarily just on top of it and part of that is wearing a life jacket," said Deputy Sheriff Gerard Gagnon, who's with the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office.

Gagnon recommends to always bring safety gear like ice picks to help in getting yourself out of the water incase you break through the ice.

"The first instinct is shock, the cold shock reflex so in that one minute you need to get your breathing under control and within the next 10 minutes that's the most meaningful movement that you're going to be able to do. You need to use that time to go about getting yourself out and then also communicating," said Gagnon.

Gagnon said it's important to call 911 right away if you see someone fall through so help can come quick.

"First thing is gonna be communicating to somebody else what you see and that's gonna be with a 911 phone call. That gets the people that are trained to do that rescue in route. The other thing is to remember that you don't want to become a victim yourself so you have to make the decision based on the circumstances whether or not you're going to attempt to do anything to rescue or let the professionals do that as well," said Gagnon.

Gagnon also said to always bring along someone else with you so you're not alone in a emergency. Also remember the ice should be at least 4 inches thick for walking, more than 5 inches thick for snowmobiles or ATVs, 8-12 inches for cars, and more than 12 for bigger vehicles.

To watch the original story and see related reporting, follow the link to the WDIO-TV report.

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