SEEKONK, Mass. (WPRI) — While outdoor activities during the winter can be fun, those involving ice can be dangerous if the proper precautions aren’t taken.

It’s often difficult to know whether a frozen body of water is safe to stand on, since its strength can be determined by a number of factors.

The Rhode Island DEM’s state parks division says “there is no such thing as 100 percent safe ice” outside of a dedicated rink. Here are some safety tips they provided for anyone looking to go out on the ice:

  • Never assume the ice is safe.
  • The only safe ice is at a rink.
  • Never skate on an untested lake or pond.
  • The ice should be at least six inches thick.
  • Never skate alone, at night, or in the dark.
  • Know the surrounding area and where to ask for help.
  • Never use ice as a shortcut.
  • Never go out onto the ice after an animal or toy.

In the event of an ice-related emergency, the state parks division says to follow these steps:

  • Call 911.
  • Do not try to rescue the victim yourself.
  • Try to calm and reassure the victim.
  • If with an adult, have the adult try and assist the victim from shore.
  • Give the victim something to help them stay afloat.
  • If the victim is stable and afloat, try to send something to reach and retrieve them.
  • If victim is brought to shore, take steps to keep them warm until rescue personnel arrive.