Ice Dangers

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With the help of a water rescue demonstration many learned some life saving rescues out on the ice. At an ice fishing clinic the Belvidere fire department demonstrated ice rescue techniques.

Fire fighters say this winter they have been fortunate and the ice hasn’t caused too many problems. But they say there is always a threat since many people do not realize the thickness of the ice.

The water rescue team recommends that fisherman bring an ice pick so you can tap and listen to the thickness of the ice. An ice pick also helps in a self-rescue. Extended Web Coverage

Ice Thickness

  • 4" of new clear ice is the minimum thickness for travel on foot.

  • 5" is minimum for snowmobiles and ATVs.

  • 8"- 12" for cars or small trucks.

Testing Ice

  • Test the thickness yourself using an ice chisel or even a cordless 1/4 inch drill with a 6 inch or longer bit.

  • Refrain from driving on ice whenever possible. If you must drive a vehicle, be prepared to leave it in a hurry - keep windows down, unbuckle your seat belt and have a simple emergency plan of action you have discussed with your passengers.

  • Don't "overdrive" your snowmobile's headlight. At even 30 miles per hour, it can take a much longer distance to stop on ice than your headlight shines.

Falling In

  • What should you do if a companion falls through thin ice?
    • 1) Keep calm and think out a solution.
    • 2) Don't run up to the hole. You'll probably break through and then there will be two victims.
    • 3) Use some item on shore to throw or extend to the victim to pull them out of the water such as jumper cables or skis, or push a boat ahead of you.
    • 4) If you can't rescue the victim immediately, call 911.
    • ) Get medical assistance for the victim. People subjected to cold water but seem fine after being rescued can suffer a potentially fatal condition called "after drop. " That may occur when cold blood that is pooled in the body's extremities starts to circulate again as the victim starts to re-warm.

  • What if you fall in?
    • Try not to panic.
    • Remain calm and turn toward the direction you came from.
    • Place your hands and arms on the unbroken surface of the ice, and work forward on the ice by kicking your feet.
    • If the ice breaks, maintain your position and slide forward again.
    • Once you are lying on the ice, don't stand. Instead, roll away from the hole. That spreads out your weight until you are on solid ice.

  • The best advice is don't put yourself into needless danger by venturing out too soon or too late in the season.

Source: (The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Web site)