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Hennepin County Hosts Ice Safety Demonstration on Lake Minnetonka

Updated: 12/20/2013 6:55 PM
Created: 12/20/2013 6:38 AM KSTP.com
By: Megan Stewart

All of the cold weather this month has frozen over most local lakes, but that doesn't mean the ice is safe.

On Friday, the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office hosted an ice safety demonstration. The sheriff's office ice dive team suited up to simulate a rescue at Lake Minnetonka.

Four people died back in January and February in three separate incidents when the vehicles they were in went through the ice.

Two of those were on Lake Minnetonka.

Hennepin County Sheriff Ricahrd Stanek says "remember, ice is never 100% safe... even though we've had some very cold weather in the last couple of weeks, many areas of the ice are still not thick enough for vehicular traffic."

In fact the Sheriff says his department won't be putting their equipment like air boats on the ice, until it get's thicker.

Hennepin County residents are urged to review these safety guidelines:

  • Have a plan of action if you do break through the ice.
  • Avoid areas of dark ice.
  • Anyone using the ice –including people on foot, snowmobiles and ATVs --should use safety precautions such as wearing life jackets.  Sheriff’s deputies wear life jackets when they are on the ice.
  • For parents and caregivers of young children, remember that if your child is walking on – or near-- ice  -- you should be near your child. Active supervision is recommended at all times on – or near -- lakes, ponds, and other bodies of water.
  • For parents and caregivers of teens and young adults, communicate your safety rules and restrictions for those who will be driving your vehicles. If driving on ice is prohibited in your vehicle, make that rule clear to all potential drivers.
  • Despite the recent cold weather, channels of Lake Minnetonka remain dangerous and should be avoided. A vehicle, such as a car, truck, or SUV, should NEVER be driven through a channel.
  • Channels should be also be avoided by people on foot, snowmobiles, and ATVs.  A snowmobile or ATV has a high likelihood of going through the ice on a channel.

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