We’ve all heard the phrase “You’re on thin ice” once in our lives.
For most of us, the solution to that dilemma is to stop being so annoying or to stop misbehaving in one way or another. However, do you know what to do if you were literally on thin ice, countless miles away from any kind of help? Would you make the right decisions or would you suffer the consequences of your ignorance?
The steps outlined in this guide will enable you to ensure your survival.
The Cold-Water Rock Effect
The Cold-Water Rock Effect refers to the effect that cold water has on the human body. The colder the water becomes, the less capable most people are of even basic motor functions. This means that you could be an Olympic swimming contender and still drown in icy water.
Of course, this effect won’t really matter if the rest of the surface of the water is covered by ice. Even if you find yourself unaffected by the cold water, you might soon be in a position where the undersurface currents pull you away from the hole through which you fell in, meaning that there would be no way for you to get out of the water.
Either through hypothermia or (much more likely) drowning, you would be dead in seconds.
Surviving Beneath the Ice
On the other hand, there are two ways for you to survive. The first is to be helped. The second is to help yourself. The latter is the first step of the former, meaning that you cannot be helped if you don’t know how to help yourself.
Step 1: Calm Down
Once you’re in the water, the worst part is over. Your body will likely be pumped full of adrenaline, so the cold will not hurt as much as it otherwise would. This gives you a few seconds of boosted energy before the cold saps your strength from you. However, that time can be quickly wasted if you panic.
By keeping calm, you ensure a cool head, a necessary requirement if you are to survive.
Step 2: Get to the Hole
Open your eyes underwater, find the hole through which you fell, and move your way to it as quickly as possible. Time is running out. You only have a few more seconds before your muscles freeze up.
Step 3: Get Out of the Water
Once at the hole through which you fell, place both arms on the ice and use a flipper motion with your feet to propel you onto the surface of the ice. This should give you the momentum that you need to get out.
Now, crawl your way to shelter and solid land.
Follow these steps and you will survive the deadliest part of an ice-water accident: drowning. However, your struggle with hypothermia has just begun. Now you need to get to a warm place, take off the wet clothes, put on dry clothes, and sit near a fire or other hot-air generator.