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Please, stay safe on the ice

Be careful on the ice.

While that thought should be first and foremost for anyone venturing out on the ice in winter, it rings even truer this year, with a lot of “bad ice” out there on many lakes and rivers this season.

The best scenario would be for a uniform thickening of ice from consistent temperatures and weather over a sustained period, but that has not been the case this year.

A week ago, several fire departments held an ice rescue training session on Long Lake. Reporter Julie Riddle was one of the volunteers who was rescued during that training, and wrote about the experience in Monday’s newspaper.

Little did she know, or those training know, that just a day after the story published, three out-of-town visitors to the area would run into trouble on the ice on Grand Lake, one of whom would end up in the water.

Emergency responders from East Grand Lake Fire Department would use an airboat to eventually get all three to safety.

One day the responders were training for such an emergency. Soon after, they would put that training into practice.

In this instance, the story had a happy ending. That isn’t the case all the time. And it almost wasn’t this time, either.

So be careful.

And remember, you need at least four inches of ice underneath you to support you. Check ice thickness with a spud every few steps, as ice varies quickly. According to officials, blue ice is strongest, milky ice is dangerous.

Stay safe.

(THE ALPENA NEWS)