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What to do if you fall through ice

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Firefighters were out on the ice in Woodstock Tuesday, performing rescue training.

With sunny, above-zero weather, conditions are perfect – since this is when the ice begins to melt.

“This is a day where, unfortunately, we see some people go through,” says Trevor Shea, Woodstock deputy fire chief.

Throughout out the week, firefighters will take part in various exercises at the Oxford County Naval Veterans Association Pond.

“We're practicing our basic ice water skills. Self rescuing is obviously the most important thing because if we fall in, we need to get ourselves out before we get anybody else out,” said Chris Colley, ice instructor and fire fighter. 

So what should you do if you fall through ice? And how can you help someone in trouble?

Shea offers these tips:

What to do if you fall through ice

  1. Remain calm. “You only have about a minute of effective movement where you’re going to be able to rescue yourself,” Shea says.
  2. Try to pull yourself up. The ice may break, but keep going.
  3. Once you’re out, stay low – don’t stand up.
  4. Roll away from the opening in the ice until you reach the shore.
  5. Remember: “At no point should you stand up, because that’s where you’re putting pressure on two points – your feet. Where if you’re rolling, you’re dispersing that weight over a broader area.”

What to do if you see someone else who’s fallen through ice

  1. “Don’t, under any circumstances, go out on the ice, if you see someone who has fallen through,” Shea says. “We see this all the time – that people attempt a rescue for themselves and then we have two victims.”
  2. Call 911. Emergency responders, with proper gear and training, will come and make the rescue.

Importantly, emergency responders are reminding everyone to stay clear of bodies of water when the temperature starts to rise.

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