Water is a miracle liquid, isn’t it? It has three different states. The most common is a liquid state (we usually refer to it while talking about water as such). There is also solid state of water known as ice and gaseous state when water assumes the form of a transparent cloud. Only one of these water configurations – gas – is neutral, the other two provide people with both benefits and risks.
Here I would like to talk about water in the form of hard, amalgamated crystals, namely ice, and especially about the dangers people face behaving unreasonably on the surface of the frozen water.
One of the most popular winter activities is ice fishing. A friend of my parents is addicted to ice fishing and he usually says like this: “As long as rivers and lakes are covered with ice, nobody and nothing will persuade me to stop going there”. Very often he and men similar to him do not take into account weather conditions – they continue fishing in spite of the fact that ice is very thin and is starting to melt.
Other people, especially, the youngest generation, are encouraged to move along the ice by the example of ice fishermen. Children think like that: “They are able to sit on the surface of ice for many hours and I am not allowed to move even some steps on it? Very often these some steps turn out as a real tragedy.
What to do if a person has fallen through ice? The first suggestion for him is not to panic. That’s true, it is easier to say than to do it in the practice, but anyway... The state of panic will not allow to implement further steps suggested by Gerald M. Dworkin, National Drowning Prevention Alliance Board Member in order to save the life.
So, if somebody has fallen through ice, he has to remember (read more):
• Not to remove winter clothing. Heavy clothes won’t drag him down, but instead can trap air to provide warmth and flotation.
• Not to try to climb out immediately. It is necessary to get horizontal in the water with the legs behind the torso.
• To place hands and arms on the unbroken surface. This is where a pair of nails, sharpened screwdrivers or ice picks come in handy in
providing the extra traction needed to pull himself up onto the ice.
• Kick your feet and dig in your ice picks to work your way back onto the solid ice. If your clothes have trapped a lot of water, you may have to lift yourself partially out of the water on your elbows to let the water drain before starting forward.
• Once out of the water, to roll away and avoid standing until he is several body lengths away from the ice break.
• To get to a warm, dry, sheltered area and re-warm immediately because falling through ice cover into the frigid water beneath can quickly lead to hypothermia (it is defined as a core body temperature of less than 95 degrees Farenheit and it ranges from mild chills and shivering to coma and death).
However, in most cases a person is not able to get out of the hole of water by himself and people around is his only hope. That’s why everybody should know what to do in order to be able to help a victim of the ice. Watch this video!
(Anna Zemblicka, Latvia)