How to survive if you fall through the ice

This is information every man should know. How to get yourself free if you fall through the ice. It’s not knowledge that you, thankfully, will need to use every day, it’s the type of knowledge that you tuck away in the “how the hell do I know that” part of your brain that will surface when needed.

It falls into the knowledge category, it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. It’s worth knowing!

And it’s not just knowledge that can use to save your own life but you can use it to help save other people. Every year almost 8000 people in the US drown after they’ve fallen through the ice. And even if you’re not in the US and you live in an area where there are lots of lakes and rivers that freeze over in the winter months it’s worth knowing just in case.

If you are unlucky enough to fall through the ice here’s how you save yourself.

The first thing is to brace yourself for the shock of the cold water. it will cause immediate changes to your heart rate and to your breathing, it’s called the torso reflex. If you know you’re going fall through you need to prevent and manage torso reflex by completely covering your nose and mouth with your hands and keep them there until you’ve got to the surface.

Next and probably the toughest part is to keep calm. Stop yourself from flailing your arms about, not only will you beak up more of the ice around you, making it impossible to use to help get you out, but you’ll lose valuable body heat as well.

Don’t take your clothes off. It might be cold but the air trapped inside your clothes will help to keep you afloat.

And this is where the video takes over. Watch this…

Once you’re out the best way to get yourself safely to the shore is by retracing your steps. Only once you are out and safe should you take your wet clothes off.


Your priority now is to get warm, cold water causes your body to lose heat 25 times faster than being in cold air, so get your wet clothes off. Your aim is to prevent hypothermia from setting in. Get into dry clothes, or wrap yourself in a blanket, get into a vehicle or get by a fire. Do whatever you can to start slowly bringing your body temperature back up to normal. Hopefully whoever you are with has called the emergency services to get you to hospital as soon as possible.

If you see someone fall through the ice, DO NOT go in after them!

Instead help them, by trying to stop them from panicking first, then talk them through the instructions in the video. Look for something you can use to throw out to them, a rope, a branch, a floatation ring if there is one, anything that they can grab on to so you can pull them out. Once they are put call the emergency services.

A fall through the ice is a nightmare scenario, but you can survive it with courage and the knowledge you now have.