Stay off the ice: Tips for saving yourself or others who fall in ponds, lakes or streams

BATAVIA, Ohio – One child’s death this month was one too many. Two accidents were too much.

So Clermont County officials are urging everybody to stay off frozen lakes, ponds, and streams and offering tips on what to do if you fall into the water or see someone fall in.  

Even if ice looks solid, it might not be strong enough to hold a person’s weight, officials said.

The warning comes after three kids fell through thin ice while playing on a pond on Hopewell Road in Franklin Township on Jan 5.  A 9-year-old boy drowned.

Two weeks later, three Irish Setters fell into a pond in Milford. As their owner tried to rescue them, her husband pushed a kayak into the water for her to hold onto. Two dogs died.

Ice weakens when it thaws and refreezes, officials said. Uneven ice thickness, wind, water levels, underwater currents, snow cover and tree stumps and rocks can also weaken ice. 
Follow these lifesaving tips:

> If you see someone fall through the ice, do not go out onto the ice, officials said. Many would-be rescuers have become victims themselves.  Instead, call 911, then assist from a safe location.  Use a pole, ladder, tree branch or rope to keep the individual afloat.  When the victim grabs the assist, pull gently to ease him or her out of the water.   Direct the individual to crawl toward the shore.     

> If you fall through the ice, stay calm.  Turn toward the direction you came from and place your hands and arms on the ice. Kick with your legs to push yourself forward out of the water and onto the ice.  Remain lying down to keep your weight evenly distributed. Crawl toward the shore and seek medical attention immediately. 

> Protect your pets by keeping them on a leash when near lakes, ponds, and streams.  If your pet falls through the ice, call for help immediately.   Do not go out on the ice.   

RELATED: Get more ice safety tips.

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