Officials urge caution when heading out onto the ice - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Officials urge caution when heading out onto the ice

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(Western Mass News photo) (Western Mass News photo)

Winter is in full swing and many people are looking to lace up their skates, but before venturing out on the ice, it is important to assess the risk.

Despite looking solid, ice can be deceptive.

Local parks departments often check area ponds to ensure their strength before skaters step on the ice.

“I guess the best and most important thing I can say is to parents is to know where your children are,” said Dennis Leger, aide to Springfield's fire commissioner.

On average, it takes fire crews about three minutes to respond.  Firefighters are always at the ready and train for ice rescues.

“All companies go out once a year out on the ice and retrain on our equipment. We have some newer equipment over the last year or two that is lighter and easier to use,” said Leger.   

However, there are things you can do in the event of falling through the ice.

If stuck in the ice, you may feel inclined to take off a bulky winter coat, but the air in your clothes can help keep you buoyant.

Before heading out on the ice, be sure to pack an ice pick and rope.

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