Dangers of Thin Ice | Kent Fire Department

As the current weather pattern of extremely cold air hangs over the Puget Sound area, small bodies of water will begin to freeze over, bringing dangers to the unwary.

These bodies of water include ponds, small lakes, retention ponds, and low areas where water has simply collected.

When people and pets travel onto these frozen surfaces, not realizing how thin the ice is, the possibility of falling through into the freezing water is very real. In addition to the danger of wet clothing in sub-zero temperatures and possible hypothermia, being trapped and unable to escape is also a concern.

One of the biggest dangers is hypothermia. This is the potentially life threatening drop in a person’s core body temperature. Normal body temperature averages 98.6 degrees. Hypothermia sets in when that core temperature drops below 95 degrees.

Symptoms include:

• Shivering or lack of shivering in the later stages of hypothermia

• Lack of coordination and slurred speech

• Confusion, difficulty thinking, and poor decision making

• Apathy to situation

• Progressive loss of consciousness

If untreated, hypothermia can lead to death.


• Take the person indoors

• Call 911

• Remove any wet or cold clothing

• Cover with blankets

• DO NOT place the person into a hot bath or shower

• DO NOT give any fluids that contain alcohol

Be safe and stay off ice. Ensure children and pets are also aware of the danger and supervise their activities when outdoors.


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