If you’re heading out for a day of ice fishing, the Bancroft Fire Department wants to make sure you’re staying safe.

“Us at the fire department are firm believers that no ice is safe ice,” says Matt Musclow, theĀ Fire Prevention Operations Officer with the Bancroft Fire Department. He adds that it’s important to monitor ice conditions throughout the day. If you’re on the ice in the morning, conditionsĀ can change by the afternoon once the sun rises, Musclow says.

If you’re checking the ice thickness, Musclow says it needs to be at least four inches thick to be safe for fishing. If you plan on driving out onto the ice to get to a location, he adds that the ice needs to be at least five inches thick if you’re driving a snowmobile on it and at least eight to 12 inches thick if you’re driving a car or small pickup onto the ice. “Park any vehicles at least 20 feet away from where you’re fishing,” Musclow adds. It’s always a good idea to keep that added weight as far away from where you are as possible.

If you do fall through the ice, Musclow says the most important thing to do is to stay calm. He suggests bringing ice picks along with you and to always keep them on you. That way if you do fall in, you can use them to try and pull yourself out of the water.