What should you do if you fall through the ice?
First, try not to panic. This may be easier said than done, unless you have worked out a survival plan in advance. Read through these steps so that you can be prepared.
1.Don’t remove your winter clothing. Heavy clothes won’t drag you down, but instead can trap air to provide warmth and flotation. This is especially true with a snowmobile suit.
2.Turn toward the direction you came. That’s probably the strongest ice.
3.Place your hands and arms on the unbroken surface. This is where a pair of nails, sharpened screwdrivers or ice picks come in handy in providing the extra traction you need to pull yourself up onto the ice.
4.Kick your feet and dig in your ice picks to work your way back onto the solid ice. If your clothes have trapped a lot of water, you may have to lift yourself partially out of the water on your elbows to let the water drain before starting forward.
5.Lie flat on the ice once you are out and roll away from the hole to keep your weight spread out. This may help prevent you from breaking through again.
6.Get to a warm, dry, sheltered area and re-warm yourself immediately. In moderate to severe cases of cold water hypothermia, you must seek medical attention. Cold blood trapped in your extremities can come rushing back to your heart after you begin to re-warm. The shock of the chilled blood may cause ventricular fibrillation leading to a heart attack and death!
General Ice Thickness Guidelines (For New, Clear Ice Only)
2” or less – STAY OFF
4’’ – Ice fishing or other activities on foot
5” – Snowmobile or ATV
8” – 12” – Car or small pickup
12” – 15” – Medium truck
What do you do if someone falls through the ice?
- Call 911 immediately. Make sure properly trained and equipped rescue personnel are alerted to respond.
- DO NOT go out onto the ice. Many would-be rescuers have become victims themselves.
- Reach, throw or row. Extend a branch, pole or ladder to the victim. Throw them a buoyant object such as a life ring or float tied to a rope. If a boat is nearby, row out to the victim or push it towards them.