How to behave and what to do if you or someone else falls through the ice

How to prevent a dangerous situation, not to fall into icy water, under ice

You can avoid emergencies by following the safety rules on the river in winter:

• Avoid stepping on yellow or whitish ice. A transparent surface of a reservoir is considered a safe area. • Do not continue forward on the frozen surface of the river if you see cracks. • Choose a flat surface for the path. • Avoid driving along the river near cliffs and reeds. • Walk on well-trodden paths where cars are moving. Here the ice is compacted by the weight of vehicles and people. • Carry weights in a backpack. It can be quickly thrown off when falling into water. • Carry a sharp object with you, for example, a ski pole or knife. You can use them to check the ice ahead, catch yourself when falling, and help yourself get out of the ice hole. • Avoid excursions on frozen bodies of water alone.

How to avoid ending up in icy water

  1. By going out on the ice, you are putting your life in danger. The worst time for such walks is the beginning of winter, thaws and early spring. But you must always be careful. The thickness of the ice is constantly changing. Even if you have walked most of the way without problems, this does not mean that the ice ahead will be as safe.
  2. Do not go out on the ice alone, at night or in poor visibility.
  3. It is safer to move on clean ice that is free of snow.
  4. Never test the strength of ice with your foot. Use a stick or trust your eyes. Blue ice is durable, white ice is twice as thin, matte white and with a yellowish tint - completely unreliable.
  5. Avoid places where reeds, bushes, and trees grow: there the probability of falling through the ice is always higher.
  6. If you are walking on ice in a group, keep a safe interval of 5–6 meters.
  7. Listen. If you hear strange creaks or cracks, it is better to turn around and slide back to the shore.

Even more safety rules can be found on the website of the Ministry of Emergency Situations.

How to distinguish between dangerous and safe ice

The presence of the following signs of melting or breaking ice will warn you of the danger of a sinkhole in the winter:

• water; • cracks; • uneven surfaces; • ice is matte white; • thin areas; • springs gush under the ice; • The ice melted and froze again, forming loose areas.

Moving on such a river surface is life-threatening. Experienced fishermen go out on the ice if it is blue and thick. The safe thickness of the coating is 10 cm. In other cases, avoid traveling along the river.

What to do if the ice has just started to crack and fall through?

The situation of falling into water under ice is the most critical. You will be lucky if you notice cracks on the surface early.

If the ice begins to crack and fall through, proceed as follows:

1. Freeze. 2. Don't panic. 3. Do not make sudden movements, do not run. 4. Get on all fours, lie on your stomach and crawl away from the dangerous place. Make all movements slowly and carefully. 5. Crawl to the shore.

What to do if you fall through the ice and there is no one nearby?

Finding yourself in such a situation alone is extremely dangerous. But you can help yourself if you know what to do when you fall through the ice.

Remember and follow the recommendations of rescuers:

1. Don't be afraid. Panic is your enemy. 2. Shed clothes and heavy items. This makes it easier to get out of the water. 3. Don't try to swim. This will take a lot of effort, but will not bring any benefit. 4. Swing your legs non-stop. This way you will stay on the water. 5. Keep your head high. 6. Breathe deeply and slowly. 7. Call loudly for help. 8. Then carefully climb out of the water while lying on your stomach. 9. Move in the direction of your path to failure. The ice is definitely thicker there. 10. Help yourself with a sharp object by sticking it into the ice. 11. Pull yourself to the surface without making sudden movements with your arms and legs. 12. Carefully remove your legs from the water, do this one at a time. 13. Move your hands one after the other. If you pull in one direction, the ice will not support the weight and will break off. Take up as much surface space as possible and distribute your weight evenly. 14. After you get out, do not get up on your feet, crawl from the hole on your stomach. Do not remove sharp objects from your hands. They may still be useful to you. 15. You need to crawl to the shore at least 2.5 - 3 meters. 16. Then you can get to your feet and slowly walk towards land in your footsteps.

If you fall through the ice

No one can be completely immune from misfortune on ice and the question is not how to avoid it, but what to do if trouble does happen to a person and he falls through the ice.

As a rule, a person who has failed never immediately plunges headlong into the water, since dry clothes and shoes create some buoyancy.

The point of support simply disappears under the person and he begins to sink into the water. At this moment, the main thing is not to allow yourself to go vertically into the water.

You need to quickly, as quickly as possible, take a horizontal position, throwing aside everything that was in your hands - a box, a fishing rod, a scoop, an ice screw, etc. Try to lie with your whole body on the ice and immediately roll to the side. There are split seconds for this and you must definitely use them. This is your salvation!

This happened to me three times and I managed to roll to the side on my own - the hole is still small, so you can spin and roll away in any convenient direction. But then you need to get up carefully and slowly.

First on all fours and only then on legs wide apart. In addition to the fact that in wet clothes and with water in your boots, you have now become heavier, but as you climb, the dynamic pressure on the ice also increases.

If, after all, you are immersed in water deeper than waist-deep, then you will no longer be able to roll to the side and you need to change tactics. While the ice hole is still small, you can try to pull your legs up to your stomach, rest them on the edge of the ice hole and slide onto the ice on your back. You have a few seconds for this maneuver, while the clothes are still not completely wet and have positive buoyancy.

Read the material “Long-legged Natalie: the story of one huntress”

If you are in water about chest deep, try throwing your head and elbows back, rest your shoulders on the ice, quickly pull at least one leg towards your stomach and push off from the opposite edge of the ice.

Remember that time has passed, but you have one or two, or maybe three attempts. Use them calmly, without panic or fuss. You need your buttocks to be on the ice. Managed? So everything is fine, everything is fine! Now roll back and preferably in the direction from which you came. Further, further, and only then can you try to get up carefully.

It may happen that after the first attempt the edge of the ice breaks off and after the second too. The hole has expanded and it is no longer possible to push off from the opposite edge. The allotted seconds are gone - the clothes are wet and pulling down.

Hands in your pocket - there should be a knife or a pair of large nails (100-150 mm), or an awl, or special “rescue bags” (such as two awls, the tips of which are tucked into each other’s handles). No? Must be! No? Then where and why did you come?


On the first and last ice, this must be with you, like fishing rods and an ice screw, and not somewhere in a fishing box, but on a ribbon around your neck or in your pocket.

With the help of two nails you can easily get out onto the ice, even belly down. But in this case, you will most likely have to take off your boots - they get in the way. In boots, the feet do not have support on the water - a semiconductor effect, when the foot moves with the heel up easily, without resistance, and down, the toes and foot seem to rest and push against the water.

After several such movements, the legs will rise up. In boots, whether in one direction or the other, the resistance is the same.

I had to swim in rubber boots - my feet dangled, but they didn’t row the water. In short, boots (felt boots, shoe covers) need to be thrown off. Now, having worked with your legs and raised them to the surface of the water, you can stick nails into the ice and, lying on your chest, pull yourself up until your legs are on the ice. Then again you need to roll back or crawl away in the direction from which you came.

If you were unable to immediately get out on the ice on your own, then you need to conserve your strength, limit your movements in order to maintain warmth, and call for help. A person in warm fishing clothes is able to stay in icy water, holding the edge of the ice with his elbows and forearms for at least 40-50 minutes.

Read the material “The State Duma plans to allow hunting in green areas”

At the same time, we must remember that even at above-zero air temperatures, the hands are the first to cool down. The fingers first lose mobility, and soon the first signs of frostbite appear.

That is why, if you lose your mittens, you need to pull the sleeves of your sweater over your hands or put your hands under your clothes and hold on to the edge of the ice with your elbows - this way the heat of your own body is retained much longer.

In this amount of time, you can organize a rescue group. Here you already need a rope, a pole, a gaff, a board, knitted scarves, a trouser belt, etc. It is better if not one, but several people are involved in rescuing the victim - then there is mutual safety net and the person directly providing assistance feels bolder.


Rescuers must have an ice pick to check the strength of the ice, and a rope is tied to the first rescuer’s belt, in case he himself has to be pulled onto the ice.

In such a team, rescuers move towards the victim and 10 meters before him, the first rescuer must lie down on the ice and crawl closer to the distance of an aimed rope throw. You need to make a loop at the end of the rope, since the victim’s hands are most likely so frozen that he will no longer be able to hold onto the end of the rope with them, but he can always put a loop around his elbows.

His task now is to work his legs so that they rise to the surface of the water, and only then can he be pulled onto the ice. Pulling a person onto the ice from this position will require little effort, only 10-15 kg.

As soon as the victim is on the ice, he should spread his arms and legs to the sides in order to transfer part of his body weight to them and thereby distribute the load over a larger area of ​​\u200b\u200bthe ice. But you can’t get to your feet right away; you need to pull the victim away from the hole, and only then can he carefully get up and follow the rescuers to the shore with quick, short, sliding steps.

Read the material “Spring hunting dates 2018”

In conclusion, I still want to say a few more words. I am not going to dissuade fishermen from going out on thin, fragile or melted ice, if only because “THIS IS MYSELF.” In the end, everyone solves this problem for themselves. The main goal of my article is “what to do if...”.

But let me remind you that the first ice thinner than 5 cm is dangerous ice, and in the spring ice even 15-20 cm thick can be dangerous. The strength of spring ice greatly depends on the weather: sun, fog, rain, which quickly eat it up.

Therefore, when “you can’t, but you really want to...”, have with you an ice pick (not an ice drill), a couple of nails in your pocket, a rope and a company of at least two or three people. It is very “useful” to tie a rope 20 meters long around your belt and move around the ice with it all the time. If something happens, you will be pulled out for it.

Igor Shekhobalov March 30, 2021 at 05:47

What to do if you see a person who has fallen through the ice?

A victim in icy water must be treated quickly. Frostbite will make itself felt within 20 minutes.

Rules of action for helping a person who has fallen through the ice:

1. Go to the site of the failure along the path of the victim. 2. Take any long object with you: rope, stick, ski, etc. 3. Stay away from failure. Lie on your stomach. 4. Crawl to the ice hole at a distance of 10 meters. 5. Stretch a stick and throw a rope to the victim. 6. Gently pull it towards you. 7. When a person gets out on the ice, you should crawl away from him so as not to increase the pressure on the ice. 8. Crawl one after another at a short distance.

If several people are involved in a rescue operation, the algorithm of actions will be as follows:

1. One is tied to a rope. He can crawl closer to the hole than 1-2 meters. 2. The rescuer wraps his arms around the victim and pushes him out of the water. Pulls towards himself. 3. The rest belay the rope and pull it towards themselves. 4. Help both of them get out onto a hard surface.

What to do if someone else falls through the ice

There is no need to rush headlong to help: the ice near the sinkhole may break off and you will end up in the water.

First of all, call the rescue service on 112. Then find a stick or rope, or improvise, for example, tie several scarves or belts.

Approach the hole by crawling so that your weight is distributed over a larger area, and stop a few meters from the water. Throw the victim a stick, rope, or whatever you could use to replace them, and pull.

You also have to crawl back. It will be possible to stand up only when there is thick ice or earth under your feet.

When you get ashore, go to a warm place as quickly as possible and give the person first aid until the ambulance arrives: take off wet clothes, help them warm up, give them tea.

How to warm up after falling into icy water?

If the victim is breathing and has a pulse, then you need to warm him up. Often fishermen and travelers warm up incorrectly, using rubbing and alcohol. This method of providing assistance leads to a decrease in temperature and depression of the central nervous system.

It is better to follow the rules for warming up after strong cooling in water:

• Wear dry clothes. • Cover yourself with blankets and sheepskin coats. • Sit in a safe, windless place. • Light a fire. • Drink warm tea, coffee. • Make heating pads from water bottles and flasks of boiling water. • Apply heated objects to the chest, groin, and axillary areas of the victim.

You can avoid failure on a pond if you do not neglect the rules of behavior and the tips of common sense and intuition.

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