COAL CITY – The Coal City Fire Protection District is urging people to be very careful around ponds, lakes or creeks that may have begun.
Due to the weather, many of these bodies of water now have thinning layers of ice on the surface that may appear safe to walk on. It is extremely important that people understand that even if the ice appears thick enough to stand on, or if it supports a person’s weight near the edges, moving on the ice can and most likely will cause it to break.
Keep all children and pets off the ice and warn others to do the same. If someone falls into the water, call 911 immediately. Parents are urged to educate their children about the dangers surrounding ice and if you see anyone playing on the bodies of water please advise them to stay off.
Each year, Coal City Fire and Rescue responds to calls where children and adults playing on these bodies of water end up falling through the ice, needing to be rescued. Falling in near freezing water can be fatal, as it is very difficult to climb out of freezing water risking drowning and suffering from hypothermia.
Hypothermia is the potentially life-threatening lowering of body temperature due to exposure to the cold. As little as a four degree drop in core body temperature can result in hypothermia. Anyone who falls into water, whether ice is on the surface or not, can suffer from hypothermia. People simply out in cold weather for an extended period of time can also develop it. The signs and symptoms of hypothermia include: loss of sensation in extremities, shivering or shivering stops, disorientation, drowsiness, apathy, slurred speech and loss of coordination.
Treatments for hypothermia include calling 911 immediately, moving indoors and out of the cold, removing any cold or wet clothing, covering with a blanket, applying warm, not hot, compresses to the neck, chest wall, and groin areas and keeping the patient warm and calm until help arrives.