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Posted on: December 28, 2022

Stay Safe, Stay Off the Ice

Firefighters perform ice rescue training on a frozen pond.

Even when it looks safe or sturdy, the frozen surfaces of ice in our region often conceal dangerous, unpredictable conditions. That’s why we ask everyone to keep themselves and their pets off the ice this winter and spring.

Arvada Fire is an all-hazards fire protection district and ice rescue is a component of one of our four special operations teams. We train for ice rescues annually and all our members are ice rescue certified. At a moment’s notice, our firefighters are ready to put on their ice rescue suits and perform a rescue. Although we’re only minutes away and ready to help, we’d rather have the public heed safety messaging to avoid the danger altogether.

The ponds, streams and waterways in our district have varying degrees of strength and thickness that are typically not suitable to play or walk on. When the waterways do freeze, they often freeze unevenly. Likewise, our temperatures in the winter can swing from freezing to warm and sunny, adding to the unpredictable nature of ice.

If you accidentally fall through the ice, victims experience a cold shock response and are at risk of drowning and later hypothermia. The simple safety message to remember is stay off the ice! 

Children are often attracted to the ice, spotting an opportunity for skating or games. It’s important to teach them about the dangers of wandering on the ice. Additionally, pets are very willing to go onto the ice to chase animals or toys. It’s important to leash dogs near ponds and keep them off ice, too.

If you witness a pet or person, do not attempt a rescue yourself! Doing so puts yourself in danger and could make the situation worse by adding another victim in need of rescuing. Instead, call 911 and stay on the shore while telling dispatch about how many people are on the ice and their location. 

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