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  • Heather Murray

Parents Preventing Childhood Drowning Presents: Sunday Survival Stories: Ice Safety

Every Sunday, we will share a story of a non-fatal drowning, discuss where things went wrong, and give some pointers on how to prevent it from happening to the people you love. Thankfully, these stories have happy endings for those involved, but sadly, we lose too many people to drowning every year. We hope examining these real-life stories help put the dangers of water into perspective and help you introduce various principles of water safety to your family!

Today’s story revolves around quick action taken by good Samaritan Raphael after he witnessed a man and his dog fall through ice. Thanks to Raphael’s previous training and quick actions, he was able to save both from the icy water.

This is a good example of ending up in water without any intention to, and it reminds us to always be ready to implement layers of protection. When winter comes in and water turns to ice, it is time for us all to start thinking about ice safety.

If you plan to be on or near the ice, you should carry sharp tools, such as ice or polar picks that can stab into the ice and be used to pull you up out of the water.

Know the needed thickness of ice for what you intend to be doing on it. For example, the minimum suggestions by most sources say 2 inches or less, stay off completely; 3 inches may support one person; atleast 4 inches for a group (in single file); 7.5 inches for a light car; and atleast 10 inches for a truck.

Know about the effects of hypothermia and how to prevent it damage caused by it. If you find yourself in water, get into the HELP position: Bring your knees to your chest, hold your arms to your sides and clasp you hands. Keep your head covered if at all possible to reduce heat loss.

Remember, just like swimming in natural bodies of water, ice presents a completely different environment every time. Many factors can change the stability of ice, like under water currents and changes in temperature. Each visit to the ice will require an evaluation to find the safest place, or a decision on if the activity should even be done that day. Always make the safest choice.

Just like water, ice activities can be fun but dangerous. Have fun, be safe, and practice ice safety!

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