What if you fall in?
- 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.
- Turn toward the direction you came.That’s probably the strongest ice.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 fibrilation leading to a heart attack and death!
Make a set of ice rescue claws.
Instructions for making Ice Claws
- Get two 4" pieces of wooden doweling the size of a broom handle or a little larger. Whatever material you select, it should float in case you drop the claws while struggling.
- Drive a stout nail into one end of each dowel. This should be a hardened 16 penny or larger concrete nail.
- Use a file to sharpen the nail heads to a point.
- Drill a hole into the dowels (in the end opposite the nail) and tie a length of strong cord through the hole so a pick is on each end "jump-rope" fashion. You may also drill a hole in the ends alongside the nails so the nail on the other pick can nest in the hole, keeping both points covered. Keep the picks in your pocket for quick emergency access if you or a companion do break through.
Using ice claws
- Turn in the water towards the direction you came from - that is probably the strongest ice.
- Dig the points of the picks into the ice and while vigorously kicking your feet, pull yourself onto the surface by sliding forward on the ice.
- Roll away from the area of weak ice. Rolling on the ice will distribute your weight to help avoid breaking through again.
- Get to shelter, heat, warm dry clothing and warm, non-alcoholic, and non-caffeinated drinks.
What if someone else falls in?
Preach, Reach, Throw, Row, Go
REMEMBER - SPRING & SUMMER ICE IS "ROTTEN ICE" - NEVER TRUST IT!