Rescue officials warn about frozen ponds thawing, watch children around them

Published: Feb. 22, 2021 at 5:09 PM CST
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As the higher temperatures melt the snow, it’s also melting the ice and thawing nearby ponds.

“It’s been down cold, but it’s not to the point that they [ponds] are real thick,” said Kevin Poynter, Training Officer with Barren County Rescue Squad.

Officials are warning people to steer clear of ponds during this time and really all year-round as ponds in this area don’t usually freeze enough to be able to walk across.

“If you fall through, and, you know, get swept under the ice, you might not be able to touch the bottom. Or if you can touch the bottom, you might not be able to break back through the ice,” said Poynter.

Members of the Barren County Rescue Squad are specifically pleading with parents to keep a close eye on kids around the thawing ponds.

“Even to the small kids, you know, oh, it’s frozen, we can slide out across the air and which is fine, you might do it five or six times and never have problems and you hit one spot that is broken, or maybe thinner than the other part of the pond.”

Over the weekend in Tennessee, three children fell through the ice in two different instances. One of them died, another, age 4, was under the water for about five minutes. The child was rescued and flown to Vanderbilt, while the other child, 7, was not injured.

“Your body is going to start reacting and start shutting down. And you can die from the hypothermia,” said Poynter.

If you fall through the ice, the cold could impact an individual physically as well as mentally.

“Your body is going to be in a shock from that coldness of the water and everything. So you know, your mind will start playing tricks on you. And a lot of times, your body won’t be able to react and how to save yourself to get out,” explained Poynter.

The Barren County Rescue Squad is equipped with the gear to make a save but hope they don’t often have to use it.

“It’s a rubber craft boat, no motor, nothing like it that we can tie some ropes onto and we can actually skim out across the pond. And we have suits,” said Poynter. “If it’s something that we might have to dive, we have dive gear that we could go down and retrieve. Hopefully, we don’t have to do that.”

The rescue squad helps with statewide rescue responses and says luckily they haven’t had to respond to any ice water rescues this year so far.

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