SMITHS FALLS — Recently, at Lower Reach Park in Smiths Falls, the Ontario Provincial Police’s East Region Snowmobile, ATV and Vessel Enforcement (SAVE) Unit, alongside local Police and other emergency services, gave a demonstration of how to survive falling through ice.
A hole was cut in the ice to allow Provincial Constable Sean McCaffrey to jump in. The 1 – 10 – 1 rule was explained to onlookers. At one minute, when you first go into the water, you will gasp with shock. It is important to calm your breathing at this point. In 10 Minutes, you will begin to lose effective use of your fingers, arms and legs, so you should try and self-rescue before that. By the 1 hour mark, hypothermia could potentially set in, so it is best to still attempt to self-rescue and call for help while focusing on keeping your airway clear, which dramatically increases your chances of survival.
PC McCaffrey advised that if anyone is going out on the ice to carry ice picks with them, wear appropriate winter clothing, and never go alone or at night. For more information please check out the Red Cross for more safety tips.