Consumers Energy is advising outdoor enthusiasts to practice extreme caution when taking part in activities out on the ice surrounding its generating and hydroelectric plants.
"Ice is very unpredictable, particularly near generating plants where water temperatures and current can create thin, unsafe ice," said Aaron Kantor, director of emergency management and public safety for Consumers Energy. "Conditions near hydro plants can also change rapidly due to unpredictable weather, making ice very thin and dangerous."
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 website: www.usgs.gov/water.
Snowmobilers, ice anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts are cautioned to stay clear of ice surrounding these plants.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources offers the following 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 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).
Consumers Energy, Michigan's largest utility, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and electricity to 6.7 million of the state's 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.