It's slick out there ... be careful.

It's that time of year again in Colorado, when a sunny day can turn into a winter wonderland within hours. That means things can get a bit slippery. Ice and snow are nothing new in the Centennial State; however, every year, there are endless slips, falls, and accidents due to slick conditions.

Looks can be deceiving. Do not rely on the appearance of ice, or assume there is no ice simply because it looks clear. Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW) reminds residents that failing to pay attention or practice proper ice safety can be a fatal mistake. Learn more from CPW.

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Ice safety around your home:

  • Pay attention to the weather and prepare ahead of time for slippery conditions.
  • Keep walkways clear, shovel, or use deicer to avoid big slippery areas.
  • Wear appropriate winter footwear, slip-resistant boots are a worthwhile investment.
  • Pay attention to where you walk.
  • Keep pets on leashes and do not let them walk on frozen lakes, ponds, etc. If your pet falls through the ice, do not go in after them, call for help.

Ice safety outside when hiking, ice fishing, snowshoeing, skiing, etc.:

  • It's important to always check ahead of time, so remember that ice conditions can vary and change quickly. Ice conditions are not consistent, even across one body of water.
  • When heading out to ice fish, or hike near-frozen waterway, wear a life jacket or float coat
  • Assemble personal safety items ahead of time and keep them attached to your person while on the ice. These include ice picks, whistles, rope, throw bags, and cell phones.
  • Use the buddy system, do not go alone. 
  • Try to refrain from alcoholic beverages or other recreational vices while outside on the ice and snow. CPW reminds people that alcohol in one’s system increases the chances of hypothermia and poor decision making.

It's important to know what to do if you fall through the ice. CPW advises to stay calm, this helps to conserve energy. Act slowly and deliberately to conserve heat, do not try to swim. Try to get your arms on the ice, if possible, and pull yourself out of the water onto the ice so you can roll to safety. If you can't get yourself out, try to keep your upper body above water and call or whistle for help.

Ice is dangerous, unpredictable, and can turn a simple walk into a visit to the emergency room or worse.

Share your winter ice safety tips with us in the comments. Stay safe out there, Colorado!