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  • Writer's pictureItsik Romano

How to survive falling through ice

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Now, seemingly more than ever, we are spending time outside and in nature. One of the only things we're still allowed to do is go outside. Thankfully, there are lots of resources and activities on the West Island that make braving the cold a little more palatable.

If you have plans to be on a natural ice rink this year, where you run the risk of falling through, be sure to keep these tips in mind that could be the difference between a close call, and an emergency.



First and foremost, you should try and stay calm. Hitting the startling cold water is sure to have you gasping for air. This combined with panic and adrenaline can lead to uneven and shallow breaths. Try to remember to stay calm and steady your breathing.

Do not remove clothing

Although your instinct might tell you that your clothes will get heavy with water and weigh you down, attempting to remove them can waste precious energy. Furthermore, your clothing can instead fill with valuable pockets of air, which could be helping you stay afloat.

Go back the way you came

The most reliable way to get out of the water is the same way you came from. Remember, that part of the ice was holding your body weight just moments before. If you have something sharp on you like an ice pick or swiss army knife, use it to help stabilize yourself in the ice.

Get horizontal

Instinctively, you might want to use your arms to push yourself up onto the ice, but don't forget the power of your legs. By kicking your legs as hard as you can, you will be able to get yourself close to flat, which will make it easier for you to pull yourself back onto the ice.

Get onto your elbows

Once you've kicked yourself flat, and are able to prop yourself onto the ice, rest on your elbows for a few moments. This will not only allow you to catch your breath, but also allow some of the excess water to drip from your clothes, making it easier to move around.

Stay laying down

Pull or shuffle yourself to safety, but do not attempt to stand back up. By laying down, your body weight is distributed over a larger area, making the ice less likely to break again.

Roll to safety

Roll yourself across the ice, until you reach land, and can safely stand up and find shelter. Be sure to get warm and dry immediately.



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