Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book/First aid/Ice rescue

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The first rule of performing an ice rescue is to not run out to the victim. Remember, the ice was not strong enough to hold one person, so it is very unlikely that it will hold you.

Call for help
Before you do anything, call 911. Use a cell phone, or send someone else to make the call.
Reassure the victim
Tell the victim to remain calm, that you are aware of his predicament, and that you are going to help.
Reach out
Then see if there is anything available that is long enough with which you can reach the victim. Possibilities include tree branches, ladders, paddles, oars, shovels, etc. If necessary, you may lay it on the ice and push it out.
Throw a line
If you cannot find anything long enough, look for a rope or a rope-like item such as a garden hose or jumper cables. Throw one end of the rope to the victim.
Go to the victim
As a last resort you may have to venture out onto the ice. But don't just walk out there - lay a ladder on the ice and walk on it. This will distribute your weight over a greater area, decreasing the chances of another break (but not eliminating that chance). When you get to the end of the ladder, roll off, and laying next to it, scoot it out farther. If the ladder still does not reach the victim, get back on it and continue. Do this until you can extend the ladder to the victim.

If you cannot find a large object such as a ladder, take something else - anything. You'll need something to reach out to the victim with so that you do not have to go all the way to the edge of the ice hole. This could be your coat for example. Then lay down on the ice - again, you are trying to distribute your weight over a larger area. Scoot over to the victim, and stretch out the item you brought with you, trying to keep your body as far from the edge of the hole as possible. Try to pull victim to safety. Once you get the victim to shore, begin treatment for hypothermia immediately.