With the freezing temperatures and many of our area ponds, lakes, and rivers frozen or partially frozen, the Reno Fire Department would like to remind residents the best way to avoid potential death in an ice-related incident is to stay off any ice formations.
“Although rescuing a person, a pet, or animal is important, people should not put themselves at risk by going on the ice or into freezing waters,” advised Reno Fire Chief Michael Hernandez. “Each of our engines is equipped with special protective gear and our firefighters are trained to safely handle rescues.”
Residents are reminded to keep close track of children and pets that may venture onto ice-covered freezing water that could subject them to hypothermia and possible death. Even short term exposures in freezing waters can result in hypothermia which can incapacitate victims, overcoming their swimming skills, and ultimately lead to drowning. Hypothermia occurs when the body’s core temperature is dramatically lowered and when skin is wet it transfers warmth away from the body much more efficiently than when it is dry. Among other results, hypothermia results in a loss of strength and muscular coordination as well as mental confusion and often erratic behavior.
It’s important to remember the uncertain thickness and conditions under ice that has formed may not support weight of even a relatively lightweight person who could suddenly break through the ice and into freezing waters. These ice conditions can remain even into the spring season.
The Reno Fire Department utilizes specialized equipment, insulated suits and rescue techniques for ice rescue. Residents are urged to follow these safety tips related to ice:
• Immediately call 9-1-1 to report any person or animal in an ice-rescue situation. Do not attempt to rescue on your own.
• Stay away from frozen ponds, lakes and other bodies of frozen water.
• Treat all ice as unstable, unpredictable and dangerous.
For more information on winter safety tips or fire safety contact the Reno Fire Department at 334-2300.