First responders urge people not to walk across frozen ponds and lakes

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DANIELS, WV (WVNS) – Local first responders are urging people not to try to walk across frozen bodies of water.

There’s a thin sheet of ice covering Little Beaver Lake, and it may seem tempting to walk across it. However, firefighters tell us it hasn’t been cold enough for long enough for the lake to freeze to the point where it’s safe to walk across. Lieutenant Chris Lanna with the Beckley Fire Department, said the ice needs to be about four times thicker than it is now for people to even think about trying to walk across it.

“The recommendation is at least four inches thick before it’s safe to walk on,” said Lieutenant Lanna. “That’s going to support a person of about 200 pounds. If you’re looking for something more detailed, like maybe a snowmobile or equipment like that, you need to have six inches of ice or greater”

Whether you’re looking to be safe walking across a frozen lake or an icy sidewalk, purchasing grips for your shoes is recommended. Lieutenant Lanna also has additional instructions:

 “We call it duck walking,” Lanna explained. “Kind of keep your feet a little closer together and don’t take giant strides. That way it’s safer in the long term to keep you from a slip and fall injury. Which is very common this time of year.”

And in case things take a turn for the worst and you do find yourself falling through ice into the water, Lieutenant Lanna has some advice that may save your life:

“If you do fall through the pond you want to try to make yourself as wide as possible. Increase your profile. So that you can reach against the ice and not break off small pieces. Have maybe a larger piece to hold onto to try to get yourself out, or at least closer back to shore,” said Lanna.

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