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Beware of Thin Ice
December 16, 2016
With fluctuations in temperature, residents are strongly urged to stay away from lakes and ponds that may appear to be frozen. While water bodies may look like they are frozen, it's extremely dangerous, and even life threatening, to venture onto ice. According to injury control experts, thin ice related injuries such as hypothermia and drowning occur every year, and is responsible for many fatalities each year. Hypothermia, which is a decrease in body temperature, kills people in cold water by reducing their ability to swim or stay afloat. A person who has fallen through the ice can eventually die of cardiac arrest if they are not rescued or rewarmed.
Ice must be at least 10 centimetres (4 inches) thick before it can maintain the weight of a person. To freeze to the right thickness, the temperature must be well below freezing for weeks.
A number of ice safety tips can be found on the Lifesaving Society BC and Yukon Branch website, but a few tips are listed below.
Ice is never 100% safe. The best advice is to stay off it. If you do venture onto the ice, remember:
· Never go out on ice alone.
· Always check ice thickness before venturing out.
· Be suspicious. You cannot tell the strength of the ice by its appearance. Temperature, thickness, snow cover, water depth, size of body of water, currents and distribution of the load on top of the ice are all factors affecting ice safety.
· Before you head onto any ice, check with local authorities for known ice conditions, thin ice areas or dangerous open water conditions.
Despite these precautions, if you fall through the ice:
· Don't panic the clothes you are wearing will trap air and keep you buoyant.
· Call for help.
· Turn towards the direction you came from, and place your hands and arms on the unbroken surface.
· Kick your feet and try to push yourself forward on top of the unbroken ice on your stomach like a seal.
· Once you are lying on the ice, don't stand up. Roll away from the break until you are on solid ice.
Please stay safe!