Danger, Thin Ice! Ice Drowning of Siblings Prompts National Drowning Prevention Alliance to Warn: Keep Children, Pets off Frozen Bodies of Water
HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif., Jan. 25, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Parents and teachers must warn children to stay off all frozen bodies of water said Kristin Goffman, executive director of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance, a national non-profit focused on reducing drowning deaths and injuries. "The tragic drowning of Joseph Cody, 12, and his sister Grace, 9, on Friday, [January 21] when they fell through ice on a pond near their home in Southwest City, Missouri, makes it crucial to remind the public that no ice is safe ice."
"It's also important to prevent pets from roaming onto ice," adds NDPA Board Member Gerald M. Dworkin, an aquatics safety and water rescue consultant at Lifesaving Resources Inc. "About 85 percent of ice emergency 9-1-1 calls are triggered by people trying to save a pet who fell through ice. Never attempt to rescue an animal yourself, but rather, call 9-1-1."
"Ice seldom freezes uniformly," explains Dworkin. "It will be thinner when it has formed over moving water, and where it surrounds partially submerged objects such as rocks or tree limbs. Even the movement of fish weakens the integrity of ice." He adds that snow-covered ice, and ice that has thawed and refrozen, is not as strong as new, clear, hard ice.
Dworkin offers the following self-rescue and response tips:
If you fall through ice-
- Don't try to climb out immediately. Instead, kick to get horizontal in the water with your legs behind your torso. Then, try to slide forward onto solid ice.
- Once out of the water, roll away and avoid standing until you are several body lengths away from the ice break.
- A set of ice picks are ideal safety tools for rescuers and victims alike. When the ice pick is jammed on the ice, the retractable sheath exposes the pick. This allows a rescuer to crawl out to the victim, or gives a victim the opportunity to crawl his way out of the ice hole.
When trying to rescue a person who has fallen through ice-
- Call, or have someone call 9-1-1 first.
- Try to improvise a throwing assist, such as an empty jug with a line attached.
- If going onto ice to reach a victim is unavoidable, use a device to distribute the rescuer's weight over a wide area.
- Use a reaching assist, such as a branch or hockey stick, to extend the reach of the rescuer and prevent him or her from being dragged into the water by the victim.
"All fire, rescue, EMS, and law enforcement personnel should be trained and equipped for ice rescue," says Dworkin. "Ice rescue suits, ice picks, water rescue rope, and an animal control stick are the minimum equipment needed."
For information about the National Drowning Prevention Alliance, visit http://www.ndpa.org.
For more information contact:
National Drowning Prevention Alliance
Mobile: (951) 712-2009
Gerald M. Dworkin
Consultant, Aquatics Safety & Water Rescue
LIFESAVING RESOURCES INC.
71 Main St.
Harrisville, NH 03450-0905
Beverly M. Payton, M.A., APR
SOURCE National Drowning Prevention Alliance