Anne Arundel firefighters warn about dangers on the ice

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - The bitter cold we've had this winter caused ice to form on a lot of local creeks, rivers and ponds.

And while it may look stable, and even feel that way for the first few steps, a sudden plunge into the icy water below may not be that far away.

ABC2's Don Harrison went on the ice today to show us first-hand just how dangerous it can be.

Every year we hear of people falling through the ice. Just a week ago on the Magothy, two teens found themselves floating away and had to be rescued. With 520 miles of shore line, Anne Arundel County has the most of any county in the state. With all that frozen water, it's hard to tell what is safe and what is not.

“The consistency of the thickness is inconsistent,” said Eric Hammerick, of the Anne Arundel County Fire Department. “You may have ice on one side an inch thick and a foot later it might be 3 or 4 inches thick.” 

Anne Arundel County firefighters are always on call to help anyone who has fallen through. Today they made a rescue, pulling me out of the water.

When I went under the ice, I'm wearing a survival suit. I can last literally hours in the water. If you don't have one of these on, you'll have a lot less time before you find yourself in trouble.

“Once you go under and hypothermia sets in you lose control of how to use your hands, so you think you will have control and get off that ice but you won't have any feelings in you hands to be able to do so,” Hammerick said.

Those who live on the water, when they see kids on the ice, a tragedy is always in the back of their minds.

“They're helpless,” said longtime resident Don Roeder. “Once you fall through that ice, it's almost impossible to get back on it.”

I was lucky to have a rescue team on the scene. If you see someone go in, just call 911. Fire officials stress do not try and go rescue them or you will be a victim yourself.

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