'Stay Off The Ice,' Cautions Reno Fire Department

With the cold temperatures over the last week, ice buildup has occurred on ponds, local streams and along the Truckee River posing a
extremely unsafe conditions.

The Reno Fire Department's Water Entry Team (WET) is urging people to take caution and stay off of ice because the ice that has formed may not hold the weight of a person and could plunge them into freezing waters.

Members of the Reno Fire Department's WET team are all trained
as Swift Water Rescue Technicians utilizing special protective clothing,
ropes and other equipment as well as Cataraft and Zodiac boats for
emergency incidents involving water and ice rescue situations.

Firefighters caution that various changing conditions such as snow cover, wind, thawed and re-frozen ice, as well as under-flowing water, can all cause unseen and unsafe changes in ice conditions.

And they point out that ice thickness is never consistent making any venture onto ice a potential for disaster. Firefighters also warn that water currents, particularly around narrow spots, bridges, inlets and outlets, are always suspect for dangerously thin ice.

The Reno Fire Department's Water Entry Team (WET) is also cautioning local residents to keep close track of children and pets that may venture onto ice-covered freezing water that could subject them to
hypothermia and possible death.

Even short term exposures in freezing waters can result in hypothermia which can incapacitate victims overcoming their swimming skills and ultimately lead to drowning.

Hypothermia occurs when the body's core temperature is dramatically
lowered and when skin is wet it transfers warmth away from the body much more efficiently than when it is dry.

Among other results, hypothermia results in a loss of strength and muscular coordination as well as mental confusion and often erratic behavior.