Winter Ice Recreation Safety

Walking, snowmobiling or driving on lake ice can be a very dangerous activity if the ice is not thick enough to withstand the weight of you and the machine you might be operating.

What To Do If A Companion Falls Through Thin Ice

  • Keep calm and think out a solution.
  • Don't run up to the hole. You may fall through — and then there will be two victims.
  • Use an item to throw or extend to the victim to pull them out of the water — such as jumper cables, skis, rope — or push a boat ahead of you.
  • If you are unable to rescue the victim immediately, call 911.
  • Get medical assistance for the victim. People subjected to the cold may seem fine after being rescued. But they can suffer a potentially fatal condition called afterdrop where cold blood that is pooled in the body’s extremities starts to circulate again as the victim starts to warm.

What To Do If You Fall Through Thin Ice

  • Remain calm and look towards the shore/ice edge.
  • Place your hands and arms on the unbroken surface of the ice.
  • Work forward on the ice by kicking your feet. This will assist in keeping your body horizontal and help you "swim" out of the hole in the ice.
  • If the ice breaks, maintain your position and slide forward again. If this doesn't work – keep trying.
  • Once you are lying on the ice, don't stand up. Instead, roll away from the hole.
  • Crawl back to your tracks. This will ensure that your weight is spread out until you are on solid ice or on shore.
  • Seek medical assistance.

If someone has fallen through the ice, they are at danger of having hypothermia when they reach dry ground again. Hypothermia is a dangerous drop in body temperature. It's a potentially life-threatening condition, and it needs emergency action right away.

If Medical Care Isn't Immediately Available

  • Remove any wet clothes, hats, gloves, shoes, and socks.
  • Protect the person against wind, and further heat loss with warm, dry clothes and blankets.
  • Move gently to a warm, dry shelter as soon as possible.
  • Begin rewarming the person with extra clothing and warm blankets. Use your own body heat if nothing else is available.
  • Take the person's temperature if a thermometer is available.
  • Offer warm liquids. However, avoid alcohol and caffeine, as these substances speed up heat loss. Don't try to give fluids to an unconscious person.

Have fun out on the ice. But be aware of the dangers and be ready to act quickly if they come to pass.

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Posted 10:00 AM

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