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How to Survive a Fall Through Ice


If you are a skier or a fisher and you happen to spend time on ice, this article is for you as you absolutely have to know how to survive a fall through ice. It happens more often that one may think. Not only do you need to know how to survive a fall through ice, you have to know what to do once you get out of water. You also want to know how to prevent this dangerous situation from happening. To learn more, carefully read and memorize guidelines below. We offer you three blocks of information: how to avoid falling through ice, how to get out of water, and what to do afterwards.


How to avoid falling through ice

To avoid falling through ice, you have to measure its thickness before you walk on it. Use a drill or other special equipment to see how thick it is. 2 inches (=5 cm) can support one man, 4 inches (10 cm) - two men, and 5 inches (25 cm) - a vehicle (like a snowmobile). Remember: the darker the ice, the more fragile it is (as it means ice contains something aside from frozen water). You are also going to need something to hold on to (like a cane or pole) in case you fall through ice. If you absolutely have to cross the body of frozen water even though you know that ice is thin - crawl to distribute your weight. Try not to damage ice.

How to get out of water

If you feel ice cracking, grasp a pole or spread your arms to avoid falling all the way through. If you do, do your best to return to the hole you fell into and get your arms on ice. You should keep your elbows on ice at all times. Move your legs to get your body into horizontal position - try to level with ice and crawl out of the water, roll away (your weight should be distributed). When you are on the shore (or near it), if you see a spot with a lot of snow, get into it so it absorbs some of the moisture. If you are unable to get out of water, keep your arms on ice and cry for help.

After the disaster

Once you get out of water, get out of wet clothes and have a warm drink - you always have to try to get warm from the inside. Someone should take you to the hospital: sometimes even when a person believes they are fine, they are actually not.


Donít panic

Pull yourself together and normalize your breath, do your best to stay calm.

Be very careful with what you drink

Donít drink alcoholic beverages or boiling-hot beverages. You may think an insanely hot beverage can warm you up, but it will only burn your throat. As you will be very cold, you wonít feel it until the burn is tragically serious. It works the same way with fire.



Make a minute to memorize these simple rules. We never think something can happen to us until it does. Remember: use a pole; keep elbows on ice, level your body with ice, crawl out, roll away, change clothes, have a warm (not hot, nonalcoholic) beverage, and see a doctor. Donít walk on thin ice and try to distribute your weight evenly at all times.

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