Worst-Case Wednesday: How To Survive When You Fall Through Ice

Posted by Jade Gilmartin

Image via Tumblr

We have all just about survived this winter, even though it has been a tough one and doesn’t seem to be letting up just yet.

Knowing how to survive falling through ice may save your life if you fall through a lake or a large pond, which thankfully, doesn’t happen every day, but this advice may also save your toes (and possibly ankles) from being frozen solid if you are out and about in the city and fall through a large puddle which has iced over, soaking your feet in ice cold water.

1. Breathe steadily. The shock of hitting the cold water will be great, but remain calm.

2. Turn in the direction from which you came. You most likely came from the area with the strongest ice (or the driest piece of the road).

3. Use your elbows to lift yourself up onto the edge of the hole. Do not get out yet. Hold yourself in that position. Let as much water as possible drain from your clothing.

4. Reach out onto the solid ice as far as possible. If you have car keys, a comb or brush, or anything that might help you dig into the surface of the ice, use it to help pull yourself out.

5. Kick your feet as though you were swimming, and pull yourself up as you continue kicking.

6. Once on the ice surface, do not stand up. Stand flat and roll away from the hole. This distributes your weight more evenly and decreases your chances of breaking through the ice again.

Admittedly, not all of these steps can be applied if you have only stood in a cold puddle up to your ankles, so for that maybe you should keep your toes moving until you get to a warm place. Then you can take your shoes and socks off and place them somewhere to dry, whilst at the same time rubbing your feet to warm them up again.

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