Palatine Fire Department Warns Citizens to Be Cautious of Dangerous Ice Conditions, and to Know What to Do in an Emergency

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Ever-changing temperatures above and below freezing in Chicagoland prompted the Palatine Fire Department to ask for help in spreading the word about dangerous ice conditions. Last month’s reporting of the 11 year-old that fell through the ice in Naperville serves as a great reminder about the dangers of going onto frozen lakes and ponds. The Palatine Fire Department, in cooperation with the Rolling Meadows Fire Department and the Palatine Rural Fire Protection District, provides water and ice rescue services for the greater Palatine, Rolling Meadows, and Inverness area.

The recent temperature swings in our area has the potential to create deceiving and dangerous ice conditions on our local ponds and lakes that may make them unsafe to stand or walk over. The Palatine Fire Department would like all residents to remember these safety precautions as we make our way into spring.

• Ice is never 100% safe.

• Ice seldom freezes or thaws at a uniform rate. It can be safe in one area and dangerously thin
in another.

• Never go out on the ice alone.

• Never leave a child or pet unattended around icy bodies of water.

• Always keep your pets on a leash so they can’t venture onto the ice.

• If your pet falls through the ice, Do Not Attempt to rescue it. Call 911 for help.

If you fall through the ice, try not to panic. Place your hands and arms onto the ice and place your body against the ice. Kick hard with your legs and try to pull yourself out of the water and onto the ice. When you get onto the ice, remain lying down and try to roll away from the hole and crawl back towards the shore.

When confronted with a water or ice rescue:

Call 911 Immediately.

Reach – use an object to reach out to a victim to pull them to safety.

Throw – the victim a personal flotation device or anything else that will float.

Row – if a boat is available and the water is open (no ice), row to the victim and have them hold onto the boat.

Go – for help. The most dangerous thing you can do is go out onto the ice or into the water to rescue someone.

What should you do if you see someone that falls through the ice? The most important thing you can do is to call 911 immediately. Getting help on the way early can make the difference between life and death. If you decide to take action remember to “Reach, Throw, and Go”. Try to Reach the person with a pole, ladder, tree branch or another long object. You can try to Throw a rope, jumper cables, a life vest or similar item to the person in the water and pull them to safety. The most dangerous thing you can do is to Go out onto the ice and try to make a rescue. The ice has already broken from the weight of the first person and will most likely break when you go out on it too.

The Palatine Fire Department has 16 certified rescue divers and a variety of specialty equipment for performing ice and water rescues. We are committed to providing the highest level of service to our residents and guests in our community. Please be safe around frozen bodies of water.


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