HOLYOKE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) — It’s that time of year when many people like to enjoy things like ice fishing or skating, but with warmer than usual temperatures, first responders are sounding the alarm.
A Facebook post on the Holyoke Community Forum is making the rounds on social media. It shows a group of teens appear to be standing on thin ice at the Ashley Reservoir.
It’s a sight that left many people concerned.
“Being on ice at the reservoir is illegal anyway. Those are our drinking water reserves, so you’re not supposed to fish or bring dogs or stand on the ice and with the warm temperatures that we’ve had this past weekend, the ice is not safe,” said Holyoke Fire Lt. Maria Pelchar.
Pelchar said looking ahead to the rest of the week, temperatures don’t seem to be in-line with ideal ice conditions.
“Always consider ice to be potentially dangerous…The only safe ice is on a skating rink,” Pelchar explained.
She said at the Mount Tom Reservation, they do open the lake for skating, but only after professionals test the thickness across the entire body of water.
“Usually, it’s the middle of January, so by next week, hopefully, but who knows. With the warm temperatures we’re having, it’s not safe,” Pelchar said.
If you do choose to skate when ice is deemed safe, she told Western Mass News that her number one piece of advice is never go alone.
“If somebody falls, call 911 immediately. Do not go out on the ice to attempt rescue…If you fall, try not to panic. Turn your body the direction you came, place your arms over the broken surface, and once the ice is solid enough to hold you, pull yourself up and do not stand. Laying down spreads your body weight across a wider area and roll away from the hole, then crawl back the way you came,” Pelchar noted.
Even though every year they preach the same message – stay off the ice – every year, they are still responding to people who have fallen through.
“You put you into danger and you put us first responders into danger too,” Pelchar said.