Learn how to escape falling through ice. Escaping from a fall into ice water is not easy and the result can be deadly.
DO NOT PRACTICE THIS IN ICE WATER! Go through the motions in a pool instead.
The information in this post is from the book “Swim Workouts and Water Rescue Skills” by Sam Fury.
How to Escape Falling Through Ice
When you first fall into ice water you will start to hyperventilate. Try to stay calm and keep your head above the water. Taking deep breathes may help but do not breathe in the water.
After 1 to 3 minutes the shock response will begin to wear off. Now you have about 10 minutes to get out before you fall unconscious.
Once you have got your hyperventilation under control, find where you first fell in. You want to get out where you know it was strong enough to support your weight. Going to where you came from is your best bet.
Place your hands on the surface and pull yourself up while staying as horizontal as possible. Pulling yourself straight up will be far less effective and a waste of energy.
Kick your legs as your creep yourself out of the water. It will be very slippery.
Once you are out of the water, lie flat on the ice and roll away.
Rolling away keeps your weight distributed. It has less of a chance of creating further cracks in the ice.
If you know you will be crossing ice country it is very wise to get some ice picks. They will make it far easier to pull yourself out of the water, although it will still be difficult.
If you cannot get out, then you need to conserve your heat and energy. Put your arms on the ice and keep them there so they freeze to the surface. This way, when you become unconscious you will have a better chance of not falling into the water.
Never go out to someone who has fallen into ice. Coach them on what to do from a safe distance and reach something out for them to hold onto such as a stick or rope.
Once out of the water get out of the wet clothes and get warm as soon as possible.
Photo Credit: Scott Sturkol.
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