Don’t go out on the water! This is the advice of the Columbus Division of Fire, in light of freezing temperatures and thin ice.

Water areas like a retention pond may look frozen, but some water is exposed and you don’t know exactly how deep or frozen the water is.  Battalion Chief Steve Martin wants everyone to know that central Ohio ice is dangerous.

“You cannot trust central Ohio ice. We get a lot of people who take a couple test steps on the shore and it feels like a concrete sidewalk. As soon as they get out towards the center it’s very thin it’s like a cracker. You can fall right through the water,” said Martin.

Martin says it should visually be very clear to everyone how different areas are not as solid as others. 

“On every sheet of ice out here there’s thick enough and there’s too thin and somewhere in between that mystery line that we’re not sure where it is. So, as you’re walking across ice have a firm foundation that’s thick enough but then you take that one step and it’s too thin you go right through,” said Martin.

With more snow expected soon, don’t be fooled by water that has some snow brushed on top.

“What we see a lot of in central Ohio is people walking their dogs and dogs have no concept so the dog can be walking on the shore and then take a few steps out on the ice and then the dog will take off and then get to a spot where the dog goes in,” said Martin.

Know that the water is cold and dangerous. 

“Once your muscles are exposed to temperatures that are that low they just lock up and get to a point where you can’t grasp anything with your hands and your arms just kind of freeze,” said Martin.

Battalion Chief Martin says he’s seen first hand how dangerous central Ohio water can be, “I’ve been on several runs where people have lost their life. And it’s very sudden and it’s very tragic.”

Some tips to keep on mind throughout this winter season:

  • Keep your pets on a leash
  • If your dog runs off onto the water, don’t chase after
  • Look for alternative ways for kids to play on ice, like making a mini water area in the backyard
  • If you do see anyone stuck on the water or fall in call 911 immediately