Ice Safety Tips


With Michigan firmly in the grasp of winter, Consumers Energy is advising outdoor enthusiasts to practice extreme caution when on or near ice surrounding its generating and hydroelectric plants.

“Conditions near dams can change rapidly, making ice thin and dangerous,” said Lisa Douglas, director of emergency management and public safety for Consumers Energy. Consumers Energy takes steps at its hydroelectric plants to protect snowmobilers, anglers and other winter outdoor enthusiasts with installed safety buoys, warning signs and coordinating with local emergency officials to reduce the risk of accidents near its 13 dams on five Lower Peninsula rivers. “Even with these measures, it is incumbent upon the individuals visiting the sites to remain vigilant about potential dangers,” said Douglas.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources offers these ice safety tips that could save a life:

  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Ice thickness can vary greatly.

  • Never go out on the ice alone and without having a plan of what to do if you break through the ice. Carry rope, ice picks and a flotation device that could help save your life or that of a companion.

  • Call 911 immediately for help if you see someone fall through the ice.

  • If you do fall through the ice:

  • Try to remain calm.

  • Do not remove winter clothing. Heavy clothing can actually trap air to provide warmth and flotation.

  • Turn toward the direction you came – this is probably the strongest ice.

  • Place your hands and arms on the unbroken surface. Kick your feet vigorously and use ice picks if you have them to get back onto solid ice.

  • Roll away from the area of weak ice. Rolling helps distribute your weight to avoid breaking through again.

  • Get to a warm, dry, sheltered area and re-warm yourself immediately.

  • Seek medical attention if you feel disoriented, have uncontrollable shivering, or have any other ill effects that may be symptoms of hypothermia (the life-threatening drop in the body’s core temperature).

River anglers should be aware that ice damming issues above dams can create large changes in flows downstream, and are encouraged to monitor the most up-to-date river conditions at the U.S. Geological Survey web site:

You may download a copy of these tips below:

Download PDF • 36KB

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