Tips for Surviving Broken Ice

By Jennifer Abbey

Jan 11, 2013 5:22pm

A crack in the ice can lead to a fight for survival.

Just this month, two Arizona teens found themselves standing on a dead tree to escape broken ice surrounding them and a man in northern California was taped flailing in icy waters, scrambling for a rescue. Two New Jersey teenagers died earlier this week after falling through ice on Budd Lake in Mount Olive Township in Morris County.

Here are some survival tips for when you get caught in an icy situation.

1. Swim towards the direction from which you came, because it’s likely the strongest ice, and try to hoist yourself up, kicking as though you’re swimming.

2. Carry simple ice picks. They could be a vital lifeline as you wait for the Coast Guard or fire department.

3. Don’t remove your clothing, including your boots. It actually will help you to stay afloat and keep you warm against freezing temperatures.

4. Normalize your breathing. Gasping and hyperventilating will set in immediately, so start controlling your breathing so you don’t go into cardiac arrest.

5. Know the weather and ice conditions. You should also know where you’re going and how to call for help.

6. Have proper clothing to prevent hypothermia. Dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature.

7. Have proper equipment, including marine radio, life jackets, screw drivers, ice picks, etc.

8. Know that new ice is usually stronger ice.

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