Officials warn about ice as creeks freeze over

Posted at 8:53 AM, Jan 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-13 09:53:19-05

Around this time of year, ponds, lakes, and creeks are starting to freeze over. Metro officials are warning children, and their parents, to be alert and never go out on the ice.

Officials said a person can't usually tell whether it's safe to walk on or not just by looking at it. Ice can be two feet in one spot and two inches in another. 

The Missouri Department of Conservation said ice needs to be at least four inches thick to support a person. Ice is unreliable, though, and one wrong step could be fatal.

Clay County Emergency Management Specialist John Bazzano said many factors go into determining how strong ice is.

"It just depends on the temperature and the density. The birds going out on there can affect it,” Bazzano said. “If it's a larger body of water where there's fish in the bottom, the fish swimming up to the top can push the warm water up to the surface and make the ice even more shallow.”

Ice is normally the thickest at the shore. 

Another thing to look out for is white ice. White ice, or ice that looks like it has white bubbles in it, is not as strong as clear ice.

"Ice is never 100 percent safe," Bazzano said. "Best thing you can do is just not go on it."

But what if the worst-case scenario actually happens and a loved one, such as a pet or child, falls through?

The answer all across the board: do not go in after someone who has fallen through. Not even if it's your child. Officials advise to instead immediately call 911.

"That's a difficult question because as a parent you want to do what you need to do for the child, but you do no good for anyone else if you put yourself in danger too, and potentially have two fatalities," Bazzano said.

The Olathe Fire Department Ice Rescue team said the same thing.

Fire Captain Joey Heideman said they tell adults the same things they tell grade school kids. If a pet were to run out on the ice, call the authorities.

"That's our job to go in and save the pet," Heideman said.


Sarah Plake can be reached at

Follow her on Twitter