Police/Fire: Officials warn of danger, offer ice safety tips 

PAUL BILODEAU/Staff photoA group of guys on their day off warm up for a little game of pond hockey off of Forest Lane in Gloucester. Temperatures are expecting to be below freezing this weekend; for the extended forecast, please see Page 16.

With the cold comes risks, and state and local officials wish to remind residents to be aware of the dangers of thin ice and share tips for staying safe on the ice.

“Never forget the risks involved in going on the ice. It can be extremely dangerous and we want everyone to stay safe this winter,” Gloucester fire Chief Eric Smith said.

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs recommends measuring ice in multiple places before testing it with your weight. Ice seldom freezes or thaws at a uniform rate. It can be one foot thick in one spot and be only one inch thick 10 feet away.

Ice that is 2 inches thick or less should be avoided completely. Four inches or more is considered safe for ice fishing or any other activity on foot. Five inches of ice is recommended for snowmobiles or ATVs. Eight to 12 inches is needed for a small car, while a foot to 15 inches is recommended for trucks.

Ice and cold water safety tips

Never go onto the ice alone. A friend may be able to rescue you from shore or go for help if you fall through the ice.

Go onto the ice prepared. Have a cellphone with you in case of emergency, as well as rope or ice picks to help if should someone fall in.

Keep pets leashed. If a pet falls through the ice, do not attempt a rescue. Call 911 instead.

New ice is usually stronger than old ice. As ice ages, the bond between the crystals decays, making it weaker, even if melting has not occurred.

Beware of snow-covered ice. Snow can insulate ice and keep it strong, but can also keep it from freezing.

Slush indicates that ice is no longer freezing from the bottom and can be weak or deteriorating.

Ice over flowing water (rivers or lakes containing a large number of springs) is generally more dangerous and should be avoided.

If someone falls through ice

Reach-Throw-Go: If someone falls through ice, call 911. If you are unable to reach that person from shore, throw them something (rope, jumper cables, tree branch, etc.). If this does not work, go for help, but do not go onto the ice to attempt to rescue them. Get medical assistance for the victim immediately.

If you fall in, try not to panic. Turn toward the direction from which you came. Place your hands and arms on the unbroken surface, working forward by kicking your feet. Once out, lie on the ice — do not stand— and roll from the hole. Crawl to your tracks, keeping your weight distributed until you return to solid ice. Once safe, find shelter and change out of your wet clothes. Seek medical assistance immediately.

If you have any questions, call the Gloucester Fire Department at 978-325-5300.

In other news taken from the logs of Cape Ann’s police and fire departments:


Tuesday, Jan. 26

7:45 p.m.: Police were dispatched to Acacia Street where the caller explained that his son’s grandmother had arrived outside his residence and caused a scene. He claims that she began yelling in the street and wanted to take his son for the night while he went out plowing. The son was found in his pajamas seated on the couch inside playing with an iPad and watching Disney movies. The man told officers that there is no custody agreement in place but this was his evening with his son. He was called to work and was able to find care for the child in the meantime..

1 p.m.: A man came into the station to report that his sailboat had been broken into while at the Cape Ann Marina off Essex Avenue. He said went to cover the jack stands when he noticed that his hatch lock was broken and the hatch open. He reported missing from his boat a control display unit from the ICOM model 710 single sideband radio; ICOM handheld radio model 36; Raymarine C97 chart plotter with coastal charts, offshore charts, Bermuda approach chart chips; flare kit including four 25-mm parachute flares, 3-red star flares; two Orion orange floating smoke containers; two Lewmar lock-in winch handles, one standard Lewmar winch handle; two Lewmar ocean snatch blocks; two 90-foot lengths of 7/16 New England ropes; a set of color red genoa sheets; waterproof box with tools, wrench set, 10-inch adjustable wrench, set of screw drivers; and a set of parallel rules, divider, and a stop watch. The man said that is all he had noticed was missing, but there could be more.


Wednesday, Jan. 27

2:43 a.m.: An illegally parked car on Main Street was ticketed.

1:38 a.m.: Public Works was notified to treat snowy roadways around town.

Tuesday, Jan. 26

7:57 p.m.: Medical emergency on Railroad Avenue. The person was transported by ambulance to a hospital.

3:20 p.m.: Report of an electrical smoke smell inside a Pleasant Street home. Firefighters did not find any evidence of smoke. The homeowner was advised to replace the smoke detectors as they were out of date.

11:40 and 10:51 a.m.: Two medical emergencies on Railroad Avenue and South Street. Both were transported by ambulance to Addison Gilbert Hospital in Gloucester.

7:59 a.m.: A Forest Street resident reported a car had been parked outside of the house for weeks. The car was reportedly not impeding traffic. Officers said they would keep tabs on the car in case the owner comes back to claim it.

7:29 a.m.: A driver on Thatcher Road received a verbal warning for speeding.


Tuesday, Jan. 26

10:44 p.m.: Report of a single-car accident on Route 128 northbound. No injuries were reported. Massachusetts Highway was notified.

5:59 p.m.: Public Works was notified to treat snowy roadways around town.

1:40 a.m.: Public Works was notified to fix a water main break on Church Street. Car owners were asked to move their cars from the area while work was ongoing. The break was repaired by late afternoon.


Wednesday, Jan. 27

6:43 a.m.: A driver on John Wise Avenue received a verbal warning for a marked lanes violation and not having the car registration in possession.

Tuesday, Jan. 26

9:46 p.m.: A car reportedly crashed into a telephone pole on Eastern Avenue. The driver and passenger refused ambulance services. The car was towed. National Grid was notified to fix the telephone pole and Massachusetts Highway was called to tend to the icy road conditions.

5:48 p.m.: A driver on Western Avenue received a verbal warning for speeding.

4:40 p.m.: Public Works removed a loose tree branch dangling over the roadway on Southern Avenue.

8:37 a.m.: A Martin Street resident reported receiving a Medicare scam phone call. No information was given out to the scammer.

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