Kitsap County residents typically don’t have to worry about lakes freezing over and their curious-minded children testing the frozen waters.
But this year, that has changed. We’ve experienced more snow, ice and freezing temperatures than in some years combined.
Some have said we’re reverting back to our old winters here in Kitsap County. Whether or not that’s the case, the recent rescues of children getting stranded on frozen Lake Symington in Seabeck should pose an obvious warning sign of a danger that we haven’t had to deal with too often in recent years.
Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue crews responded to Lake Symington for a rescue on Thursday, Jan. 24, and again on Tuesday, Jan. 29.
The first call was for three teens who walked across the frozen lake and became stranded on an island in the middle. Luckily, they had their cell phones to call for help.
Just five days later, another call came in after two 9-year-old girls became stranded on another island. One of them fell through the ice up to her waist. With no cell phones, the girls yelled for help until a homeowner called 911.
In both cases, these children were extremely lucky to have made it safely back on land. This should be a wake-up call, however, to those who live near local lakes or large ponds. Not only to parents and children, but to the neighboring homeowners.
Parents can talk to their children all day about how dangerous a frozen lake can be, but their children aren’t always going to heed their warnings. Perhaps these two rescues will provide parents with the examples they need to show their children the consequences of their curiosity.
These also can serve as examples to children who think it will be “cool” to try to walk across the ice. The kids who were rescued were lucky. The outcome isn’t always going to be the same. Had a neighbor not heard them screaming, the result could have been much different.
Neighbors who notice kids near any frozen ponds or lakes should take the time to warn them of the instability of the ice. It could result in saved lives.
Those who venture across a frozen lake are not only putting their lives in danger, but also those of the firefighters whose duty it is to bring them back to safety.
The risk of hypothermia or even death is not worth attempting to walk across a frozen lake. Hopefully these two incidents will serve as lessons learned.