Officials send warnings about thin ice

Posted at 10:17 PM, Dec 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-09 23:17:44-05

After a few bitterly cold nights, a thin layer of ice is settled over water in Omaha, and can lead to a false sense of security.

Rescuers are warning people of the dangers of thin ice.

“As soon as they see the lake ice over, they want to get out there and go ice fishing and do those activities on the ice and the ice just isn't thick enough yet,” said Steven Thornburg, Battalion Chief for the Omaha Fire Department.

Friday afternoon, rescue crews from Omaha fire, police and Carter Lake police departments helped someone stranded on ice at Carter Lake get to shore and to a hospital.

Thornburg said though local lakes are starting to freeze over, they might not be frozen enough to be on.

“We say you need to check the thickness of the ice before you go on it and it needs to be six inches thick before you can consider it safe to hold their weight.”

He also said when someone falls into icy water, hypothermia quickly sets in, reducing the chance of survival. 

“Your motor functions slow down, you are not able to rescue yourself, you hands aren't working or muscles aren't working,” said Thornburg.

He also advises double checking your targeted body of water when going out on ice.

“Most of the lakes around here are dams, so the water is always flowing and that really slows the thickening of the ice moving water doesn't allow it to freeze.”