The local Ponds and certain areas of Manhasset Bay appear to be frozen. Please remind your children of the dangers of walking out on the ice. What may appear to be frozen throughout may be thin ice and be an accident waiting to happen. The danger is not only to your child who ventures out onto the ice but to those who respond to rescue them as well.
What To Do If You Fall Through The Ice:
- Try not to panic. Call out for help only if you see someone. Otherwise, save your breath. The cold shock that makes you hyperventilate will subside within 1-3 minutes. The best thing to do is get your breathing under control and keep above water. You are more likely to die from drowning than from hypothermia.
- Remove any extraneous objects that will weigh you down
- Try to get out from the direction that you came in. Place your hands and arms on the unbroken surface of the ice. You will only have 2-5 minutes before you lose the strength to pull yourself out.
- Begin kicking your feet to get your body horizontal. Then, pull yourself along the ice until you are out of the hole. Be slow and deliberate to conserve your strength and body heat.
- If the ice breaks, move forward and try again.
- Once you are lying on the ice, DO NOT stand up. Roll away from the hole, then crawl following your footsteps back toward shore. Don’t stand until the hole is well behind you. You want to distribute your weight evenly over a wide area to prevent going through again.
- If you can’t pull yourself out within 10 minutes from the time that you went in, cease all attempts. At this point, you need to extend the time period in which someone else could rescue you by conserving body heat. The body loses heat much faster in water than it does in air, so get as much of your body out of the water as possible.
- Keep your forearms flat and still on the ice. Hopefully, your clothing will freeze to the ice, possibly preventing you from going under, even if you become unconscious.
- It is possible to survive for up to 2 hours before succumbing to hypothermia. In other words, if you stay composed and keep above water, you have almost a 2 hour window of opportunity to be rescued.
What To Do If You See Someone Fall Through The Ice:
- Keep calm and try to keep the victim calm.
- Call 911 and the PWFD – 742 3300. Assess the availability of extra help, look for people in the vicinity.
- If you are on the ice, DO NOT run up to the hole. If you are on shore, DO NOT run onto the ice. The last thing you want to do is become a second victim.
- Use an item on shore to throw or extend to the victim that will allow you to pull them out of the water (rope, ladder, branch extension cord, skis, jumper cable, etc.). You can also form a human chain with people lying flat on the ice to distribute the weight as evenly as possible.
- Once the victim is safely on shore, they may seem to be in relatively good condition. However, a potentially fatal condition called “after drop” can occur soon afterward. Cold blood that has been pooled in the body’s extremities starts to circulate again as the body warms up. At this point, the body begins to shiver violently in an attempt to raise the temperature again.
- Never rub the victim’s arms, hands, legs or feet, as this could cause or exacerbate the “after drop” effects.
- Never give the victim alcohol or caffeinated products. They restrict the blood vessels and slow circulation.
- If possible, exchange wet clothes for dry clothes, wrap the victim in a blanket and get the victim out of the elements.
- Get an ambulance or rescue squad to the scene as fast as possible.