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WEB SPECIAL: Despite weather, ice stil not safe to skate on

January 26, 2011

The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) advises that, despite the cold temperatures of the past week, there is no safe ice at monitored state parks at this time. Ice must have a uniform thickness of at least six inches before it is considered safe by DEM. It generally takes at least five to seven consecutive days of temperatures in the low twenties or below before ice may become safe.
“The strength of the ice is factors such as the size and depth of a pond, presence of springs or currents, and local temperature fluctuations,” says John Faltus, DEM's Deputy Chief of Parks and Recreation. “As a safety precaution, the department strongly encourages skaters to utilize indoor skating rinks over the next several days, even if temperatures go below freezing. The mixed precipitation we've experienced this week, together with the blanket of snow covering the skating areas has rendered the ice at these facilities unsuitable for skating.”
DEM provides ice safety information for Lincoln Woods, Goddard Memorial and Meshanticut State Parks on its 24-hour Ice Information telephone line, 222-2632. However, residents should contact their local recreation departments for skating opportunities and conditions in individual communities since DEM does not monitor ice conditions in local communities.
DEM has an ice safety guide that can be located online at http://www.riparks.com/IceSafety.htm.
Developed by DEM's Ice Safety Committee, the guide has safety tips, information on ice strength, and information on what to do if a person were to fall through the ice. The first safety tip: never assume the ice is safe. Among the others: never skate alone or on an untested lake or pond; never use the ice for a shortcut; and never go out onto the ice after an animal or a toy.
DEM's parks website also lists municipal ice skating rinks and their telephone numbers, and provides links to those with websites.

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