Winter Safety: Watch Out for Thin Ice

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Public safety officials are urging caution after a man and his dog were rescued after falling through thin ice on Fairfield’s Lake Mohegan on Sunday.

With temperatures rising this week, authorities around Connecticut are warning people not to be fooled by bodies of water that appear to be frozen.

“It’s a huge concern especially with the sun beating on the ice, this time of year, it just weakens the ice and people think it’s safe to go out there,” said Lt. Craig Vincelette of the Middletown Fire Department.

For generations, pond hockey has been played on Wethersfield’s Spring Street Pond. However, there would be none of that Monday.

“We’re just scoping it out,” said Matt McDonald, who was exploring the pond with his young daughter. “Obviously it’s not ready to go. You see the bubbles. You see all the moisture on top.”

With near-perfect weather today, families were enjoying a day at Middletown’s Butternut Hollow Park, all the while, avoiding the semi-frozen pond. Nearby, Middletown Firefighters trained for an ice rescue

Wearing a specialized yellow wetsuit known as a Mustang Suit, two firefighters simulated a rescue. As one played the victim, submerging himself in the water, the other cast a rope and flotation device in his direction. The rescuer then shimmied out on his stomach. Once he reached the victim he attached a harness and together the two were reeled in by firefighters onshore.

“We try to get the victim out of the water as fast as we can. As safely as we can,” said Vincelette.

As a precaution, Middletown fire recommends avoiding any ice that is less than four inches thick. Visible wet spots are an indication of unsafe conditions. If you do fall through, immediately scream for help but don’t panic. Finally, if you a witness an ice emergency do not try to go in yourself.

“Stay on lands, call 911, keep a visual on that victim in case they go under so we have an idea of where they’re last seen,” said Vincelette.

With temperatures expected above freezing this week, the Middletown Fire department advises people to avoid walking, skating or even fishing on what appear to be frozen bodies of water.

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