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Fire officials warn of ice hazards

Evanston fire officials say Sunday’s rescue of a woman and her dog from the icy water of the Northwestern University lagoon should serve as a warning to everyone about the danger of walking on ice.

Fire Division Chief Tom Janetske says someone walking on campus noticed the accident about 8 a.m. and used a blue-light emergency box to call the fire department.

Evanston fire officials say Sunday’s rescue of a woman and her dog from the icy water of the Northwestern University lagoon should serve as a warning to everyone about the danger of walking on ice.

Fire Division Chief Tom Janetske says someone walking on campus noticed the accident about 8 a.m. and used a blue-light emergency box to call the fire department.

Janetske says the woman’s dog had wandered about 40 feet onto the pond and fallen through the ice. The the woman fell through when she tried to rescue the dog.

Evanston firefighter-paramedic Jennifer Lo Bianco suited up in an ice water rescue suit and got into the water to rescue the woman and firefighters were also able to pull the dog to safety. But the woman and her dog survived the ordeal although the woman was transported to Evanston Hospital for treatment.

Fire officials say you can’t always tell the strength of ice simply by its look, its thickness, the temperature or whether or not it is covered with snow.

Ice covered by snow always should be presumed unsafe, Janetske says. Snow acts like an insulating blanket and slows the freezing process. Ice under the snow will be thinner and weaker. A snowfall also can warm up and melt existing ice. If there is slush on the ice, stay off. Slush ice is only about half as strong as clear ice and indicates the ice is no longer freezing from the bottom.

The most logical ice safety measure, Janetske adds, is to “Stay off the Ice” and if you are walking a dog near a frozen body of water always use a leash.

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