Winter has visited blighty and with the snow comes ice! A time for people to have a play! Snow ball fights .......... but with the fun comes danger - ice cover lakes are killers!
Unlike Bear Grylls a true survivor does everything they can to limit the danger they find themselves in and crossing frozen lakes and ponds isnt a good idea.
As little as 3 inches of ice can support a person text books will tell you - ya great which person?? A 6 stone teenage girl or a 18 stone man?? Sadly, even if that statistic were good ice thickness will vary across the water surface so even as a rule of thumb it doesnt help.
Best advice - stay off the ice!
But we all know your average kid, or dog for that matter isnt gonna listen so what to do if disaster strikes?
Firstly - use common sense - if the ice doesnt look strong it isnt gonna be strong! If theres water on the surface or cracks and holes in it stay off!
If your walking across ice you have two options - test for strength or pray!
To test for strength you need a sharp object on a stick to stab into the ice - if it doesnt penetrate the ice after three or four stabs the ice is good - test the ice for your whole journey over it .........
In the frozen north people often carry either a long pole or ice spikes - the idea is if you go through the ice the pole is wider than the hole and you climb out or you can use the ice spikes to drag yourself out!
If you do go through the ice try to fall backwards onto the firm ice you have walked on - if you do go in climb out onto the ice you walked on - as this ice has proven to be able to take your weight.
If you see someone go through the ice - dont panic and dont rush out and make yourself a casuallty too - to many dog owners die on ice trying to rescue dogs who eventually climb out of their own accord!
Ideally approach the person in the water from the same direction they used - from a safe distance throw them a rope with a loop tied in it - if no rope use a pole or ladder anything that will reach. If you need to go further on the ice lay down and crawl to spread your weight- move slowly and the slightest sign of the ice breaking stop and back up!
Dont endanger yourself to save someone whose own stupidity has endangered them!
Remember to call for help, call the emergency services before you try to help the casualty!