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Frozen Ponds Posing Potential Dangers

GROVE CITY (Ben Garbarek) -- Ponds are freezing over from the arctic temperatures, but firefighters are warning people to avoid going out onto the ice.

Firefighters said they see it every winter.  People will venture out on the ice and get themselves in trouble.

Crews were practicing ice rescues in Jackson Township Wednesday afternoon.

"What we're going to do is try not to go in (to the water)," said Battalion Chief Steve Cook.  "If there's ice on there, we're actually going to crawl and disperse our weight so we don't fall down in."

They're preparing for a worst-case scenario like Columbus firefighters faced last February.  A 5 year-old boy, Elijah Walker, fell through the ice on a pond in the Eastland on the Lake apartments in Southeast Columbus.  James Jenkins was passing by and jumped into the water to save Walker.  Sadly both died.

Jenkins sacrificed his life, but firefighters are urging others not to do the same.

"Get a rope, a pole, anything they can do to throw to them," Cook said.  "When you go in that freezing water, you only have a few minutes and your muscles are going to quit working and you're going to become a victim and now we have to rescue two people."

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources said it's never 100 percent safe to go out onto the ice.  It needs to be at least four inches thick to support a person's weight.

If you fall through the water, firefighters said you should get your arms out of the water and onto the ice.  Then kick as hard as you can to get out of the water.  Roll away from where you fell in because standing back up could break more of the ice and cause you to fall back into the water.

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