“Cool” Ice Safety Tips

giphyIn some parts of the world, when winter arrives, it also means the water freezes into ice. Playing on frozen ponds or lakes can be super fun. But did you know not all ice is safe?

Here are some ice safety tips you will want to know.

Ice Factors

Not all ice is created equally. Some ice can be very dangerous!

Many factors affect ice thickness including: type of water, location, and the time of year. These environmental factors can also affect ice;

  • Water depth and size of body of water.
  • Currents, tides, and other moving water.
  • Chemicals including salt.
  • Fluctuations in water levels.
  • Logs, rocks, and docks that absorb heat from the sun.
  • Changing air temperature.
  • Shock waves from vehicles traveling on the ice.

Different Colors of Ice Can Spell D.A.N.G.E.R!

The color of ice may be an indication of its strength. For example;

  • Clear blue ice is the strongest.
  • White, opaque or snow ice is half as strong as blue ice (opaque ice is formed by wet snow freezing on the ice).
  • Grey ice is unsafe (grayness indicates the presence of water).

Ice Thickness Safety


Always avoid going out onto the ice at night!

If You Are Alone On Ice

Never go onto ice by yourself. However, if you find yourself alone on the ice, follow these safety tips;

  • Call for help.
  • Resist the immediate urge to climb back out where you fell in. The ice is weak in this area.
  • Use the air trapped in your clothing to get into a floating position on your stomach.
  • Reach forward onto the broken ice without pushing down. Kick your legs to push your torso on the ice.
  • When you are back on the ice, crawl on your stomach or roll away from the open area with your arms and legs spread out as far as possible to evenly distribute your body weight. Do not stand up! Look for shore and make sure you are going in the right direction.

Rescuing a Person on the Ice

Rescuing another person from ice can be dangerous. The safest way to perform a rescue is from shore. Here are some safety tips when rescuing a person on the ice.

  • Call for help. Consider whether you can quickly get help from trained professionals download(police, fire fighters or ambulance) or bystanders.
  • Check if you can reach the person using a long pole or branch from shore – if so, lie down and extend the pole to the person.
  • If you go onto ice, wear a PFD and carry a long pole or branch to test the ice in front of you. Bring something to reach or throw to the person (e.g. pole, weighted rope, line or tree branch).
  • When near the break, lie down to distribute your weight and slowly crawl toward the hole.
  • Remaining low, extend or throw your emergency rescue device (pole, rope, line or branch) to the person.
  • Have the person kick while you pull them out.

Move the person to a safe position on shore or where you are sure the ice is thick. Signal for help.

Never go onto a frozen body of water unless you know for sure that the thickness of the ice is safe.

Remember and share these ice safety tips with others. It may just save a life!

Categories: Nature, Science

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