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Here's how you can stay safe on the ice this season

Bangor Assistant Fire Chief Andrew Emery shares tips to stay safe on the ice when participating in winter activities.

MAINE, USA — Although it's winter and there may be snow on the ground in some places across the state, many lakes and ponds are not frozen over yet.

Bangor Assistant Fire Chief Andrew Emery said "the amount of time where it's actually safe to be on the ice is getting shorter and shorter."

He shared some advice to stay safe on iced-over ponds or lakes. 

First, look at the color of the ice. If it's clear blue, chances are it's safe to tread on, Emery said. He said you can also test the thickness of the ice. If it is: 

  • Under 4 inches — Stay off
  • 4 inches — May allow for ice fishing or other recreational activities on foot
  • 5–7 inches — Often allows for snowmobiles or ATVs
  • 8–12 inches — Supports most cars or small pickups
  • 12–15 inches — Will likely hold a medium-sized truck

When out on the ice, be equipped with safety gear such as a life jacket and ice pick. 

Emery warned that with warmer temperatures, the ice isn't as thick as it typically is at this time of year.

He said that ice thickness varies day by day. 

"Those thicknesses vary daily," Emery said. "You know, 55 degrees and rain on Wednesday. If it's four inches of ice today, that might be gone come Wednesday afternoon, so it's dangerous right now."

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