Captain Ron Lubke with the Missoula Rural Fire District has safety advice for those recreating around rivers and ponds in the winter.

“Number one, absolutely stay away from river ice,” said Lubke. “River ice is very dangerous. The current in the river will make the ice melt and it gets very week, so the further you get out it gets much thinner. If you do break through that ice and fall into that river there’s a good chance the current will carry you under, and the chances of a successful rescue are pretty minimal.”

Lubke has advice on what to do if someone falls through the ice.

“Don’t go out on the ice yourself to try to rescue them,” he said. “If they broke through, you probably will too. Try to reach them with something, like a rope or a tree branch, or even a ladder that you can slide out or even something like jumper cables from your car. Most importantly, call 9-1-1 the minute someone falls through the ice, because in these temperatures and the temperature of that water, people’s strength will be zapped away quickly, and they don’t have time to get out of there.”

Crews from Missoula Rural Fire will be conducting ice rescue training Tuesday through Thursday on the ponds in Lolo.



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