What happens if you fall through the ice? If you don't drown from the gasp reflex or contraction of the airway when falling into frigid water, water can suck away body warmth 25 to 30 times faster than air. You can become hypothermic in about 15 minutes. At this time, your motor skills start to diminish. In 40-60 minutes you could die.
That's why it's important to get out of the water as quickly as possible. Break away the loose ice in front of you. Secure your ice picks into the ice; dolphin kick and pull yourself (using the ice picks) back onto the ice. Keep your weight spread out by staying horizontal and rolling to shore. To view Dr Gordon Giesbrecht ice video click here or to download Dr. Gordon Giesbrecht printed presentation click here!
If you see someone fall through the ice, be safe! Don't act before you think or you could also become a victim. First, call 911!
Because it is hard to stand by and watch someone drown, here are some more tips for a surface rescue.
You need 3 to 5 people to assist in an ice rescue, Get plenty of rope (150'-200' are best). Secure one end of the rope to a tree or other stationary object. The other end of the rope should be tied to the person attempting the rescue--preferably to a harness. Spread out your weight over a larger surface, lie down on the ice. One rescuer on the ice at a time. Remember the ice broke for one other person. As the crew feeds you the line, the perfect tools to help you belly crawl to the victim are ice picks
Anyhow, as you crawl toward the victim, keep shouting to him that help is coming. When you reach the victim, do not extend your hand(s). You could get pulled into the frigid water headfirst. Not good. Instead, turn around and offer your feet to the victim. You can use the ice picks to anchor yourself, then use your leg muscles to lift the victim out of the water. If the victim doesn't have the strength to hold on, a properly clothed rescuer tied to a rope can enter the water feet first and push the victim onto the ice. After both parties are back on the ice, the victim should be rolled onto the rescuer's stomach. When the rescuer taps the top of his head, the shore rescue team should pull them both to safety.
If you attempt a rescue alone, Do not step on the ice. Tell the person who has fallen in to grab as far up on the edge as they can, and kick their feet. The kicking will help them stay afloat. Yell for help and quickly look for something to pull them to safety - a robe, scarf, jacket, belt, or tree branch. Lie down as close as safely possible to the open hole and reach with whatever you've.
When you get the person up on the ice, do not stand up. Crawl a number of yards away from the hole. After you pull someone out, Do not rub the recovered victim's hands, arms, feet, or legs. It will push cold blood to the heart. Warming must take place gradually and get them dry as soon as possible and seek medical attention.
Just because the ice is thick in one spot, does not mean it will be all over. The best rule to follow is
"If you don't know, don't go!"
SAFE ICE THICKNESS:
Clear Hard - New Ice
* It is critical that the ice quality or type of ice is evaluated before you travel!
* Clear hard, new ice is the only kind of ice recommended for travel!
* Avoid, slushy ice!
* Avoid, ice on or near moving water i.e., rivers,currents!
* Avoid, ice that has thawed and reforzen!
* Avoid, layered or rotten ice caused by sudden temerature changes!
* other risk factors that weaken or "rot"ice:
-snow on ice that acts as a blanket to prevent harding of ice
-pressure ridges due to wind or current pressure.
NO ICE IS WITHOUT RISK-MINIMIZE YOUR RISK!