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Frozen surfaces are unstable this time of year, assume no ice is safe

Frozen surfaces are unstable this time of year, assume no ice is safe
Frozen surfaces are unstable this time of year, assume no ice is safe 02:10

From bitter cold to warm and sunny, Colorado's weather can change quickly. The fluctuating temperatures we've seen recently can also create dangerous conditions, particularly on what appear to be frozen lakes and ponds.

"Ice around [the metro area] is so unpredictable," said Lt. Tyler Hecox of West Metro Fire Rescue. "It could be frozen in one place and then not nearly enough frozen in another place."

Despite warnings year after year to stay off the ice, first responders around the state are called to help people, pets, even wild animals that have fallen through. Hecox said those calls often come in early winter and late spring.


"The biggest one we see is if someone's dog goes onto the ice and falls in, they immediately want to go out for them," he told CBS News Colorado.

But that's exactly what rescue crews *don't* want you to do. No matter if it's a beloved pet or child, call 911 and do not go onto the ice after them.

"If the ice can't support that person, it's not going to support you either," Hecox explained. "You going onto the ice is only going to cause more problems."

Rescue crews and dive teams regularly train for such problems. Still, the best thing everyone can do is assume no ice is safe. If a rescue is required, though, leave it to the experts and wait for them to arrive, as hard as that may be.

"While it is probably the worst day of your life if somebody you know or your animal goes into the water, you have to be really disciplined and call 911 as quickly as you can," said Hecox.

If you do see someone fall through the ice, first responders say you can try to help as long as you stay safely on shore. Use a branch, rope, or even an extension cord to try to reach that person. Again, do not go in yourself.

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