What’s the Most Important Step to Survive Falling Through Ice?
• Waving Arms
• Staying Calm
• Kicking Feet
• Yelling Loudly
Answer: Staying Calm
Falling through ice can feel like getting punched in the stomach by a professional heavyweight boxer. The fall itself can be terrifying but the shock of hitting that freezing water can cause the fallen to hyperventilate, making it difficult to stay calm. What happens next could make the difference between life and death. That’s why it’s important to actively focus on staying calm.
The cold water causes the body to go into shock for at least 3 minutes. That means the body will focus on keeping the vital organs healthy, rather than the appendages. At this point, it’s vital to gather your thoughts and head back to the opening you fell through. Even though the ice broke, there was a point in the ice that was strong and supportive. That will be the best place to climb out.
Once you find the opening, start kicking your legs, while pulling yourself on to the solid part of the ice. As soon as you’re out of the water, while still laying down, start rolling to more solid ground. This displaces your weight, where standing up puts your weight in more concentrated areas and risks another break in the ice.
Once it’s safe to stand up and walk, head to a safe place and get out of those wet clothes. Avoid getting too close to a heat source, no matter how tempting it is. You may not be thinking as clearly as usual or be able to maintain your balance as you normally would. Getting too close to a heat source in the condition puts you at risk for falling and causing even more injuries to yourself. It’s probably best to call 911 and seek professional medical attention, even if you think you’re fine.
~To Your Survival