If you end up on a frozen lake or pond, understand that it can be extremely difficult to judge how safe or dangerous the ice could be. Here are some tips for an enjoyable and safer winter:

  • Do not go near ice that is two inches or thinner. It typically cannot support a human’s weight and is very dangerous.
  • Don’t cross ice that has formed over flowing water. It is very dangerous, especially near streams, bridges, and the outside of river bends.
  • Older ice usually isn’t as strong as fresh ice.
  • Try to avoid ice with snow atop it; snow acts as an insulator and slows down the freezing process, making it potentially dangerous.
  • Ice doesn’t set uniformly. It will be thicker in some parts and thinner in others.
  • If you’re driving on ice, always remember: Be cautious. Drive slowly, and never at night. Don’t fasten your seatbelt and keep your window down or door slightly opened for a quick bail. Don’t wear a life vest, as it can impede your escape from the vehicle.

If your vehicle is partly submerged, do not go back to it to retrieve your possessions. They aren’t as valuable as your life.

  •  Steps to take if you fall in ice:
  • Don’t panic. Try to stay as calm and collected as you can for rational and safe decisions.
  • If you fall into ice:

1)      Don’t take off your winter attire. Heavy clothes won’t drag you down and can actually help during these situations. They can trap in air for better buoyancy and insulation against the biting cold.

2)      Turn towards the direction you came from. The ice is probably strongest, as it supported you up to the plunge.

3)      Place your arms and hands on unbroken ice. If you have ice picks, use them!

4)      Kick your feet and dig into the ice to hoist yourself out of the water.

5)      Lay flat on the ice. This will distribute your weight evenly and help prevent the ice from breaking.

6)      Get warm and dry a.s.a.p. (once you’re safely off the ice). This is a good opportunity for hypothermia and frostbite to set in, so be swift. Take off wet clothing and find shelter. Seek medical attention if necessary.

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