Firefighters warn of dangers of thin ice

Columbus firefighters are warning about the danger of thin ice.

Capt. Mike Wilson, spokesman for the Columbus Fire Department, said that especially in light of the death earlier this week of a Greenwood man, people should be wary before venturing out onto ice for recreation or to rescue a pet or person.

Authorities say that 43-year-old Brian Persinger died in a pond on his Greenwood property Tuesday night, likely after trying to rescue his family’s dogs from the water.

Wilson said you should never try to go out on the ice to make a rescue yourself. Instead call 911 for help and reach from shore with a rope, pole, ladder, tree branch, jumper cables or similar object. You can also throw something to keep them afloat such as a life preserver or boat seat cushion.

Wilson that the Columbus Fire Department is equipped with ice water rescue equipment and can safely carry out a rescue.

Among other ice safety tips, Wilson suggested:

Take Precautions

  • Never leave a child or pet dog unattended around icy bodies of water.
  • Always keep your pets on a leash.
  • If a pet dog falls through the ice do not attempt to rescue your dog. Call 911 for help.
  • Slush is a danger sign, indicating that ice is no longer freezing from the bottom and can be weak or deteriorating.
  • Ice seldom freezes or thaws at a uniform rate.  It can be one foot thick in one spot and be only a few inches thick 10 feet away.

If You Fall In

  • Do not panic.
  • Turn toward the direction you came from.
  • Place your hands and arms onto the ice and place your body against the edge of the ice.
  • Kick with your legs to push yourself forward out of the water, onto the ice, and keep trying until you are on solid ice.
  • Remain lying down to keep your weight distributed evenly.
  • Roll away from the hole and crawl back towards the shore.
  • Reach for rope, a pole, or any other item that has been extended you to from someone on dry land.