Staying safe out on the ice

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- The cold temps are freezing the ponds, lakes and rivers in our area.

You might think the frozen water is safe to walk on, but the fire department warns that walking out onto ice can be extremely dangerous.

The Colorado River is still flowing, but in some parts, the water has been replaced with ice that entices some people to try and walk on it.

"I was about eight years old, and my older sister and older brother, Joy and John, we were walking on a creek that was right by our house," said Sherry Robison, who used to play on frozen water as a kid. "My sister Joy was ahead of me and my brother, and she fell through."

It took Robison and her brother only a few minutes to rescue their sister, but the cold water still took its toll.

"She just stayed in the hospital for about a week for hypothermia," she said.

Stories like Robison's are exactly why the fire department is warning Grand Valley residents, as cold temperatures look to keep our waters frozen.

"Ice can be a very dangerous situation. Don't ever go by yourself," said GJFD Public Information Officer Mike Page.

Page said when the fire department gets calls about someone falling through ice, it's usually for people going in after their pets.

"Don't go after those animals. That's usually what we see around here. We are very happy to go rescue dogs from the ice; we have the equipment; we have the experience," Page said.

According to the fire department, it takes at least two inches of good clear ice to support a human body, and ice along the river tends to vary in thickness, so one part may seem safe, while right beside it, danger awaits.

Page said if you do fall through a piece of ice, try to rescue yourself by spreading out your body weight as much as possible because the less weight you put on a piece of ice, the better it will support you.

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