Cold Water and Ice Safety Tips

Press Enter to show all options, press Tab go to next option

Each year many people are injured from exposure in cold water incidents. Falling through thin ice, slipping into icy waters or falling in while fishing are ways people can end up in very cold waters. 

Click here to download a PDF version of this information

Unleashed pets run onto the ice and people make the mistake of chasing after them. If an animal falls through the ice, NEVER attempt to rescue the animal yourself. If the ice is unable to support the weight of a dog, it definitely would not support the weight of a human and you yourself would become a second victim in need of rescue.

How thick is “safe” ice?

Ice on moving water in rivers, streams and creeks is NEVER safe. The thickness of ice on ponds and lakes depends upon water currents or springs, depth and natural objects such as tree stumps or rocks. Daily changes in temperature cause the ice to expand and contract which affects the strength. Because of these factors, it is extremely difficult to declare the ice absolutely “safe”.

Cold Water Safety 

What do you do if someone falls through the ice?

  • Act quickly and call 9-1-1 for help immediately. Make sure properly trained and equipped rescue personnel are alerted to respond. 
  • DO NOT go out onto the ice. Many times would-be rescuers become victims themselves. 
  • Reach, Throw, and Go. Extend a branch, pole or ladder to reach the victim. Throw them a buoyant object such as a life ring or float securely tied with a rope. If unsuccessful, go immediately for help. 
If you witness someone fall through the ice, try not to panic, remember “Reach, Throw and Go”. Contact 911 early to insure emergency response. Do not attempt to go out on the ice yourself where you are at risk of becoming a victim yourself. 

For more information on outdoor safety, contact the fire agency in your area. Residents of Bend may call Bend Fire & Rescue at 322-6309.

(Information provided in part courtesy of the City of Phoenix (AZ) Fire Department© 2013)