On thin ice: dangerous, even deadly

Venturing out onto an ice-covered body of water is always dangerous, and can easily be deadly.

WHEN IS ICE SAFE?  NEVER ON SOLDIERS LAKE!

Please note the Soldier Lake photos presented here, and more importantly, the people-tracks on the ice! People-tracks should not be present on Soldiers Lake! Danger: thin ice!

The cold facts about ice:

  • You can’t judge ice conditions by appearance or thickness — other factors including water depth, size of the water body, currents, snow cover and local weather all combine to determine the strength of the ice.
  • Ice seldom freezes uniformly. It may be 9 inches thick in one location and only an inch or two just a few feet away.
  • Ice formed over flowing water and currents is often dangerous. Ice along streams, springs and channels between lakes, bridges or aeration systems is usually weaker due to faster current.

The best advice to give to your Soldier, civilian and family members is, think twice before going out on any ice.

Although the message should be getting through to people that the only way to stay safe near frozen water is to KEEP OFF, every year individuals repeatedly dice with death and venture out onto frozen lakes, canals, and other areas of inland water. The inevitable result is some fall through and become casualties.

So what action should be taken in these circumstances to assist the casualty without putting the rescuer at risk?

  • Call for assistance from the emergency services:
    • Military Police — 09802-83-110 or DSN 110.
    • Medical/Fire: 09802-83-112 or DSN 112
  • Do not attempt to go out onto the ice yourself.
  • Instruct the casualty to keep still to maintain heat and energy.
  • Try to find something that will extend your reach, such as a rope, pole, branch or item of clothing. Throw this or reach out to the casualty with it. Then, making sure you are stable on the bank by lying down or getting someone to hold onto you, attempt to pull the person to the shore.
  • If you cannot find something with which to perform a reach or throw rescue, try to find something that will float to throw or push out to them. This will help to keep the casualty afloat until assistance arrives.

Please reconsider the temptation to venture out onto ice-covered bodies of water. Doing so is extremely high-risk to Soldiers, civilians, family members, and our Directorate of Emergency Services personnel who respond for rescue and/or recovery operations.

Additional information is available through the Installation Safety Office at 0981-183-1670/7594 or DSN 468-1670/7594.

ARMY SAFE … ARMY STRONG!

You can’t judge ice conditions by appearance or thickness — other factors including water depth, size of the water body, currents, snow cover and local weather all combine to determine the strength of the ice.

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