Greg shares tips for what do do if you fall through the ice on a lake in this episode of Ask The Expert. 800 CHAB radio presents Ask the Expert with Greg Marcyniuk of Heritage Insurance located in Moose Jaw.

Heritage Insurance

Here's a full transcript of the episode.

Rob Carnie: It's that time of the year and it's all about ice safety on Ask the Expert today with Greg Marcyniuk at Heritage Insurance.

Greg, ice fishers have been out on the lakes quite a bit already. And the ice is thick enough for the most part. But there are some things you got to keep in mind. And you got to be so careful, even when it's cold. Even when the ice is nice and thick.

Greg Marcyniuk: That's correct, Rob. Like, we've had some cold weather. The ice is thicker. People are driving a boat.

But the biggest thing is that you want to really be careful about speeding, of course, on the ice as usual. Because as you're speeding on the ice, there is a wake in front. And as you get close to shore, it can come up, break through the ice. The other thing is, in a lot of the lakes that we have throughout Saskatchewan, there are springs. And those springs are actively running throughout the full year. And they can actually have open spots, regardless of how cold it is. So, you have to be very careful where you are going.

So, say if you happen to be out walking along and you do hit one of those spots. And you're with a companion, the companion falls through the ice — What are you going to do?

Biggest thing is, first of all, to keep very calm and think out a solution. Don't run up to the hole. Because you could end up falling through, and there could be two victims in there. You can use either items such as battery cables, a rope of some sort, skis. And if you're unable to rescue that victim, immediately phone 911 and get medical assistance for the victim.

People subjected to this cold may seem fine, but after being rescued, they can suffer a potentially fatal condition called Afterdrop, where cold blood that is pooled in the body starts to circulate again as the victim starts to warm up. So, very important.

But secondly, what do you do if you fall through the ice? The biggest thing is remain calm and look towards the shore ice edge. Place your hands and arms on the unbroken ice and work forward on the ice kicking your feet. This will assist in keeping your body horizontal and keep you swim out of the hole of ice. If the ice breaks, maintain your position and slide forward again. If this doesn't work, just keep trying.

Once you are lying on the ice, don't stand up. Instead, roll away from the hole. Crawl back to the tracks, that will assure that your weight, you know, spread out until you are on the solid ice on shore, and seek medical attention. Now, if medical attention isn't immediately available, remove any of the wet clothing, hats, gloves, shoes and socks as well.

Protect the person or yourself against wind and further heat loss with warm, dry clothes and blankets. Move gently into a dry shelter as soon as possible. And again, begin rewarming the person with extra clothing, warm blankets. And if you have to, use your own body heat if nothing else is available to warm that person up.

Take the person's temperature if you do happen to have a thermometer. And offer them warm liquids — but avoid alcohol and caffeine which speed up heat loss. You know, be aware of your surroundings. Have fun. We live in this great place, so you want to enjoy it. But just enjoy it safely.

Rob: Are there some pieces of equipment that we can carry if we're out on the ice that could help us in the case of falling through?

Greg: I would definitely carry along with you either a rope or a throw rope of some sort. There are ice picks, something along those lines, that you can pick on the ice and pull yourself out of there. Those are the types of things that you should be carrying if you're unfamiliar with the ice and concerned about the ice.

Rob: And a note for new or relatively new ice fishers out there, it's always good to check with the veteran ice fishers who know where to go and what to do, eh?

Greg: That's always a good idea to talk to people around. And also, just be familiar with your surroundings.

Rob: Greg Marcyniuk, Heritage Insurance on 800 CHAB's Ask the Expert.

(Video transcription by Speechpad)

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