By Annette Christie
Van Buren County Sheriff provides Ice Safety Tips
Van Buren County Sheriff Daniel E. Abbott wants to make sure the citizens of Van Buren County as well as visitors stay safe as the frozen ice season begins on our lakes, rivers, and ponds.
Ice must be five inches thick to hold the weight of a person and eight inches thick for a snowmobile and ATV.
When on the ice, Abbott recommends wearing low profile floatation vests for under or over outerwear for safety reasons.
Abbott recommends the following tips that could save a life. If you hear the ice crack have the group of individuals spread out. Everyone should immediately lie down to distribute the weight on the ice more evenly and then crawl to safety. If someone falls through the ice, do not run to the hole. Call 911 and report it and then use a pole, branch, rope or other long object to try and reach the victim. If a row boat is available try to push it out to the area while holding on. If someone falls through the ice, they should try and keep calm. A victim should try and call out for help while kicking their feet and trying to move their arms and hands onto the safer ice. Ice picks and screwdrivers can be used to get a better grip on the ice.
Pets can also fall prey to the dangers of falling through the ice, causing near drowning and or death. Abbott said, “If your pet has wandered onto dangerous ice, do not follow them. Stay where you are and try to coax them back to safety.”
Even after making it to safety from the freezing cold waters and ice, it is important to seek medical assistance quickly. “The biggest danger is hypothermia. Wet clothing should be replaced immediately with warm, dry blankets, towels, or clothes,” Abbott said adding, “Almost every year, our office gets called out for an ice rescue due to poor ice conditions, hopefully, this year we don’t run into that.”
Residents should rest assured that the Sheriff’s Office Dive Team is ready to assist in case they are called out to the lakes of the county.
Cold temperatures and snowy conditions causing traffic problems
Plagued with bitter cold temperatures and what seems like endless snow has caused plenty of problems for holiday travelers taking it to the roadways.
A multi-vehicle pile-up on I-94 to our east caused a westbound highway closure for roughly two hours on New Year’s Eve day. Traffic had to be re-routed and buses were brought in for the dozens of stranded motorists in the aftermath. While there were several injuries, there were no fatalities.
The Michigan State Police took to social media to provide tips for those involved in an accident. They were on Twitter with the following tips: If you are involved in an accident on the highway, stay in your car and leave your seatbelt on. If you are able to drive your vehicle out of traffic lanes, do so. While it may be pure intuition to do so, MSP warns that motorists should not get out of their cars to direct traffic or to check on damage. They should call 911 and report what they saw while keeping track of their location so they can report it. MSP states that if you witness a crash, it is best to call 911 and report the crash and its location, however stopping could actually involve more cars.