OSWEGO – While the Oswego Fire Department hasn’t had an ice rescue situation as of yet this winter, other communities in the Northeast have
experienced close calls and tragedies as a result of thin ice.
Last week in New Jersey, two teenagers were rescued by local firefighters after falling through ice while crossing a seemingly frozen river.
In early January, two children fell through ice near Boston, leaving a young boy in critical condition.
Unfortunately, this is a common theme where people venture onto ice that is not safe.
The Oswego Fire Department cautions residents and visitors to stay off any ice near the Oswego River and Lake Ontario.
Ice depths can fluctuate drastically in our area due to snow coverage and moving water.
The ice may be very thick in some areas, while others have less than an inch of coverage.
The warmer weather today and tomorrow may melt some of the ice in the area before the colder temperatures return later this week.
Those residents with ponds are cautioned to check the ice depth in several locations before venturing out.
When a person is immersed in cold water, self-rescue becomes very difficult, especially from a fall through ice.
Muscle coordination quickly becomes impaired, followed by a decline in mental status before they become completely unconscious.
The water temperature in Lake Ontario is currently about 42 degrees.
Good samaritans or witnesses often become victims as well because the first thought is to go out and help.
The best thing to do if you see someone fall through the ice is to immediately call 911 and get help on the way.
Try to remain in voice contact with the victim, and tell them to hold on to the ice and control their breathing until emergency responders arrive.
If the victim is close, try to throw them a rope or floatation device.
Although we do have trained professionals and the equipment to perform ice rescues, we encourage residents to stay clear of ice near the Oswego River and Lake Ontario.
Also, the snowdrifts on the shore of Lake Ontario can look stable, but falling through can result in tragedy.
We encourage everyone to stay off the breakwater, as it is currently covered in ice and very difficult to navigate even in ideal temperatures.
As always, please call 911 immediately if you see someone in distress or that may need assistance.