Ice is considered strong if it is more than 7 centimetres thick. When it is thick, it can support a person’s weight. However, in order to sustain a group of people, its thickness should be not less than 12 centimetres.
Strong ice always has a dark blue or green shade, and ice of matte white colour or a yellow shade is fragile. Fragile, thin ice occurs in those places where the branches of trees, boards and other objects get frozen in it, and also near bushes, trees, and reeds. Fragile ice is also formed in those places where are streams, springs and water from factories flows in.
Before stepping on ice:
- Look round; check if there is an existing footpath or traces of one. If there is, walk along it as it is a tried and tested path;
- When you go over the ice you should take a strong stick to check the strength of ice. If after hitting the ice with the stick, water appears on it - return immediately to the shore;
- You should shuffle along the ice, without lifting your feet;
- If you are skiing, unfasten your bindings so that if necessary you can quickly kick them off. Hold the ski-stick in hand; do not pass your hands through the loops - you will be able to throw the sticks away quickly;
- If a group of people is going over ice, they should keep their distance from each other. The minimum distance between people should be 5 meters;
- While walking on ice it is necessary to go round the snow covered places or where there are snowdrifts because the ice under snow is always thinner;
- Ice is weak at the shore and it may have cracks as well, so be cautious while stepping there;
- Ice is very dangerous during a thaw;
- Do not leave children without supervision playing on ice;
- If you go on ice-fishing, you must have ice escape grips (ice safety picks). Persons who fish without this device can be punished by receiving a warning or a fine from EUR 10 to EUR 60.
If you fall through ice:
- Try not to not panic or lose concentration;
- Instead of swimming forward, crawl onto the ice from the side from which you came;
- Do not struggle in the water and do not lay down on the edge of ice with all the weight of your body;
- Crawl onto the ice with your arms widely spread. Try to lean as much as possible of your chest on ice, then cautiously put bring up one foot, then the other one;
- After you have crawled onto the ice you should not stand up at once. It is necessary to roll away from the ice-hole as far as possible in the direction from which you came, because the ice there is stronger. After coming out on the shore you must run to get warmed up and reach a warm place as soon as possible.
If you see a drowning person:
- Tell him immediately that you are coming to help;
- During the rescue you must act quickly and resolutely, since a person in winter-cold water freezes quickly, and wet clothes do not allow him to hold out long on the surface of the water;
- It is necessary to approach the ice-hole very cautiously, better on all fours with hands widely spread;
- If possible, put skis or a board under yourself and crawl along it;
- You must not crawl up to the ice-hole, since the ice will break if you try to offer the drowning person a hand and pull him out. Ice will support a person no closer than 3-4 m from the ice-hole edge. Therefore, it is necessary to reach out to the drowning person with a ski, a ski-stick or to throw him a rope. If there are few rescuers on the scene, they can lay down on ice holding each other’s feet thus forming a chain to the ice-hole.
After saving a person:
When the person is pulled out onto the ice, it is necessary to crawl with him as far as possible from the dangerous spot and to take him to a warm place as soon as possible. Try to warm the person, give him warm tea, give dry clothes and provide first aid.