Ice job: Rochester Fire practices skills on frozen waterways

Jan 27, 2022

ROCHESTER — Members of the Rochester Fire Department traded fire for ice as they sharpened their ice rescue skills. 

Department members visited the Neck Road boat ramp area Jan. 19 to test out the new inflatable ice and swift water rescue boat and their more familiar ice rescue sled.

“The ice sure does look enticing and fun to get out on and slide but with fluctuating temperatures the ice in our area is not safe for fishing or skating,’’ the department reported on its Facebook page. 

They learned that firsthand during their drill. “Our members spent much of the evening swimming in their cold water dry suits, [more] than they did sliding across the thin ice shelf,’’ department members wrote.

The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife offers some suggestions for staying safe on ice: 

Remember that new ice is stronger than old ice. Four inches of clear, newly formed ice may support one person on foot, while a foot or more of old, partially thawed ice may not.

Ice doesn't freeze uniformly. Continue to check ice conditions frequently as you venture out onto the ice.

Ice formed over flowing water and currents is often more dangerous. Avoid traveling onto ice-bound rivers and streams, as the currents make ice thickness unpredictable. Many lakes and ponds may contain spring holes and other areas of currents that can create deceptively dangerous thin spots.