MFD official says walking out on thin ice “not worth it”

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Being out on the ice right now is not as safe as it was just a week ago. Officials with the Milwaukee Fire Department are warning folks about the dangers of thin ice on area ponds, lagoons, creeks and rivers as we move from winter into spring.

As ducks once again take to the water near Discovery World, the Milwaukee Fire Department's Dive Team will most likely be getting busier.

"You start to see open areas of water. Those are indications that the ice is starting to melt. It's right now, that 'in between time' when you're not really sure if the ice is good or if it's not good. People, inevitably are going to go out on it," Milwaukee Fire Lt. Thomas Truetelaar said.

It seems to happen every year. People will fall through the thin ice into the frigid water, and Truetelaar's team will respond.

"It's definitely challenging because the same conditions that caused you to have a problem is going to cause problems for us," Truetelaar said.

Truetelaar says even if there aren't warning signs -- like one found at Humboldt Park, Truetelaar says there are things to look for.

"When you start to see areas of open water, you realize the ice is really starting to break apart here and that's the danger," Truetelaar said.

Pooling on the ice is another sign that it probably shouldn't be walked on.

"I wouldn't do it. But I'm sure there's some fishermen who think they can do it. You know, they want to get out there. I personally wouldn't do it. To me, it wouldn't be worth it," Truetelaar said.

Some of the best ways to stay safe are to measure the ice, carry ice packs and bring along some sort of flotation device.

Truetelaar says four inches of clear ice is usually considered safe. Anything less than that could be dangerous.