BURRILLVILLE – The winter weather this year appears to be in a holding pattern regarding severe cold temperatures and open water area freezing over. This week’s Sunday feature has a coloring cartoon related to open water and keeping kids safer when outside taking walks, ice skating or playing.
Kids should be reminded to not use open water areas as short cuts for walking, and if not frozen over to required thickness, definitely not playing on ponds and lakes while outside. Even open water edges near the solid ground can be dangerous. Water surface areas should be thick and solid without any cracks or noticeable melting.
It’s easy enough to tell if ponds and lakes are melting or have visible cracking. If you notice water resting on top of these icy water surfaces, chances are very likely that melting is the cause of that surface water. It’s not safe. If you see cracking on any pond or lake ice surfaces it’s not safe for standing, walking, ice skating or playing.
Some kids like to ice skate on open water ice surfaces on ponds and lakes during the cold winter months. The best safety measure that anyone can take is contacting your local fire department or checking their websites for ice safety notifications in your town or community. Fire departments are a great safety resource for any outdoor winter activity concerns or issues related to safety. Your local police department may also be able to answer any safe ice questions that you may have.
The safest surface to walk on is solid ground, not icy open water areas. Even if the pond or lake has a thick layer of ice, it’s still very slippery and dangerous if you don’t take precautions and stay safe. If you do decide to venture outside and visit these open water areas, never go there alone. Always have someone with you for safety reasons. Besides, everything is better with a buddy or friend with you.
Frozen bodies of water are a safety hazard and should be treated that way whether you are a youngster, teenager or an adult. Solid ground activities are always safer during the upcoming winter months.
Jim Weicherding is a Burrillville resident, and the founder and creator of an award-winning traffic safety effort Seasons of Safety. Weicherding contributes kids’ coloring cartoons, which can be printed and used to help parents discuss safety issues with their children. He has a long list of police officers and firefighters in his family and has worked with law enforcement and firefighters in a creative public safety capacity for more than two decades.