HCFR warns to stay off frozen ponds

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HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – While the cold snap is almost over, frozen ponds and lakes may be around for a little while longer. But members of the Horry County fire department warn that these frozen bodies of water are dangerous, and ponds need at least 3 inches of ice to be safe to skate on.

Many concerned residents have reached out to HCFR saying that they saw people on frozen ponds and they were worried for their safety. Lt. Chauncey Kelley explains there aren’t any frozen ponds in Horry County that are safe for standing right now. Even though our area has seen a long and strong cold snap, it wasn’t cold or long enough to freeze these ponds and lakes enough to hold someone’s body weight. If you do fall through this thin ice, you could immediately get hypothermia.

“This ice is so thin it’s breaking right away especially as temperatures start warming up. The water though is approximately 50 degrees this time of year until the next few months which is cold weather. Hypothermia sets in in a very short amount of time. If you get wet or you’re in the water you’ll lose body heat 25 times faster than in the cold air. So within ten minutes you can start to lose coordination and be able to swim and functions like that. So if you don’t have a life jacket or have enough protection you’ll start getting hypothermic and can drown,” said Lt. Chauncey.

If you do see someone in the water who needs help, do not go in after them. Immediately call 911.

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