Ice Fishing: What to Do if Someone Falls into Freezing Water

There are always important considerations if you want to make the most of your winter activities in Clear Creek County. Ice fishing is not the exception. We have already discussed some basic gear and safety tips. Today, we would like to conclude the subject going over some tips on what to do if you or someone falls through the ice. It is true that no one is expecting this to happen, but accidents occur without warning and knowing how to react could be the difference between a scary experience and a fatal one.

Ice fishing rod

First tip, we can’t insist on enough. Never go ice fishing alone. This applies to most of the things you do during the winter, the weather in Colorado can be unpredictable and that in itself can be dangerous. In Clear Creek, you are so close to Denver, that it will be easy to find a few friends to tag along. If everyone is busy, consider joining a tour and make some new friends!

If you plan to use an ATV, UTV or snowmobile, avoid speeding. If you are riding too fast, it might be impossible for you to stop once you spot a hole in the ice. Consider wearing a floating vest below your snowmobile gear.

Falling Into Freezing Water

Remember to carry some ice picks, not only to help you walk over the ice but also to help you pull yourself out of the water if the worst were to happen.

When you find yourself or someone else in the freezing waters, don’t panic and immediately have someone call 9-1-1 (this is why you never go alone, you can’t call 9-1-1 from the water.) Even if it feels and sounds selfish, resist any urge of running towards the edge of the hole. Otherwise, instead of one victim you may be dealing with two.

In these situations, rescue experts use the preach, reach, throw, row, go steps. It is an effective rescue procedure that not only could save someone’s life, but also help keep the rescuers safe.

  • PREACH ‑ Shout to the victim to encourage them to fight to survive and reassure them that help is on the way. Continue talking to keep them calm and controlling their breathing.
  • REACH ‑ If you can safely reach the victim from shore, extend an object such as a rope, ladder, or jumper cables. If the person starts to pull you in, release your grip on the object and start over. A sled or toboggan could be useful in these cases.
  • THROW ‑ Toss one end of a rope or something that will float. Have the victim tie the rope around themselves. Do this before they person is too weak to grasp it.
  • ROW ‑ Find a light boat to push across the ice ahead of you. Push it to the edge of the hole, get into the boat and pull the victim in over the bow. It’s not a bad idea to attach some rope to the boat, so others can help pull you and the victim to safety.
  • GO ‑ A non‑professional shouldn’t go out on the ice to perform a rescue unless all other basic rescue techniques have been ruled out.

Camp fire cookingSurviving Hypothermia

Once you are able to pull the victim out of the water, retrace your footsteps back to safety. Your biggest concern now is helping the victim survive the hypothermia. Even if the victim’s legs are not cooperating because of the cold shock, you need to look for a warm shelter, a car or cabin.

Keep an eye on the victim. Initial symptoms of hypothermia include shivering, dizziness, hyperventilation, increased heart rate, slight confusion, difficulty speaking, clumsiness and moderate fatigue.

Take off wet clothes as soon as possible. It is the fastest way to increase the victim’s core body temperature. Put on dry clothes or blankets. Share your body temperature, consider it a group hug. It may be one of the most uncomfortable things you do in your life, but it will help stabilize the person’s body temperature and it may save their life. Start a fire, serve hot drinks and wait for help.

 

One of the best and safest ways to enjoy ice fishing is in groups

Look for the best fishing tours in Colorado and leave the safety regulations to the experts. We will gladly help you make the most of your outdoor winter adventures in a safer way. Enjoy the Holidays!