Winter on the ice - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Winter on the ice

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With winter in full swing that has not stopped Montanans from getting outdoors and having fun!
But Great Falls Fire and Rescue said there are some areas where your fun could put you in danger if you are not careful.

There are several winter sports you can do on iced over waterways such as snowmobiling, skiing, and of course ice skating to name a few.
However, before you lace up those skates and hit the ice there are some things you should know.
GFFR Lieutenant Spencer Swingley said even at negative degree temperatures it is not always safe to walk out on any ice, let alone the river. 

"When there's 12-13 inches on a good lake, you might only have a couple inches  on the river here because it doesn't get frozen like it does. " said Swingley.

He said that's because water moves in a river
As opposed to a lake, where water is not going anywhere so it has a higher chance to freeze.
"You just never know it could think in one spot and thin in another being on a river you just can't trust being thick enough to walk on," said Swingley. 

He added you need to watch for pressure ridges.
The areas where the ice comes up because its less stable 
"The risk isn't worth the benefit for them to go on the river," said Swingley.


Adding although this may seem like common sense, it's not always the case. 
"We have ponds around here that would be perfectly good to skate on city parks like Gibson park would be a great place to skate on I wouldn't just trust the river to skate," said Swingley.


During an ice rescue, responders have to think about several things, such as how long can they stay on the ice ledge.
Will they get to the victim before hypothermia sets in,which can take only minutes.  
Lieutenant Spencer said if you do fall find a stable ice ledge to help keep you mostly out of the water. 

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