Cumberland firefighters conduct ice rescue drills; no safe ice in R.I.

Cumberland firefighters conduct ice rescue drills; no safe ice in R.I.

Firefighter Bryan Clarke, in the water as a “victim” during Sunday’s ice safety drill, is rescued by Acting Lt. Kevin Dube.

CUMBERLAND – Members of Cumberland Fire Department’s second platoon took advantage of the ice formation from recent cold temperatures to conduct ice rescue drill scenarios in the pond behind Station 5 on Arnold Mills Road Sunday morning.

All Cumberland fire companies carry ice rescue equipment in case of an emergency.

Fire Chief Nick Anderson is reminding everyone that a body of water needs a minimum thickness of 4 inches of new and clear ice to be considered acceptable to walk on. Ice thickness will vary location to location. No amount of ice can be guaranteed to be completely safe, he said.

Anderson noted that the state’s phone number for checking the condition of ice is 401-667-6222. The state only checks three major park locations, but as of Feb. 16, had deemed that there was no safe ice in Rhode Island, he said.

“The only safe ice is located at skating rinks,” said Anderson.

Warm temperatures and heavy rain on Tuesday further weakened pond ice, and additional weakening was expected throughout the week, with fluctuating temperatures and more mixed precipitation. Temperatures are expected to rise into the 40s next week.

During a pandemic winter where more people are getting outside to explore the outdoors, far more area residents have been seen venturing onto the ice at various locations.

The state has a one-stop website dedicated to ice safety: riparks.com/ice-safety.php#icesafety .