November 28, 2003 at 8:57 a.m.
•Last winter five people died when they fell through the ice.
•Over the last 10 years, 63 people have drowned after breaking through thin ice.
•65 percent of all ice drownings are vehicle related.
•Several children die almost every year in ice-related accidents.
•Last winter, 17 people died in snowmobile accidents.
•Last winter, many snowmobile deaths were alcohol or drug related.
•Hypothermia and frostbite can quickly become life or limb-threatening.
•Never walk on ice less than 4-inches thick. Don’t snowmobile on less than 5-inches or drive your car on less than 8-inches of new, clear ice.
•Warn your children to stay away from ice-covered ponds and streams.
•Avoid alcoholic beverages, especially when snowmobiling. Alcohol causes the body to lose heat more rapidly, even though one may feel warmer after drinking alcoholic beverages.
•Avoid over-exertion. Cold weather even without physical exertion, puts an extra strain on the heart. If you add to this the strain of heavy physical activity, such as shoveling snow, pushing an automobile or even walking too fast or too far, you risk damaging your body.
•Watch for frostbite and other symptoms of cold weather exposure. Frostbite causes loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, tip of nose and ear lobes. If such symptoms are detected, get medical attention immediately. Do not rub with snow or ice. This does not help the condition and, in fact, will make it worse. The best treatment for frostbite is slowly rewarming the affected tissue.
The Sheriff’s Office responds each year to accidents involving winter activities. Many of these accidents could have been prevented if proper precautions would have been taken. On behalf of all of us at the Sheriff’s Office, we wish you a safe and joyous holiday season.