HERRIMAN, Utah (ABC4 News) – Falling through ice, into frigid water – it happens in seconds, and hypothermia can happen in minutes.
If you – or your pet – fall through, Unified Firefighters Authority spokesman Matthew McFarland says to remain calm and yell for help if you are alone.
But if someone is with you, he says they should not get in the water, and offer help other ways.
“Use an object,” McFarland said. “Use a rope, use a jacket, swing it out there and try to give them a lifeline to pull them in rather than getting in yourself and call 9-1-1 right away.”
McFarland said every year UFA members train in cold water as a way to prepare for an emergency situation like falling through the ice.
Whether it’s a pond, lake, reservoir, or any kind of mass water pool, temperatures (at this time of year) can be near freezing.
And while it may be fun to play on the ice, McFarland said it’s a real threat.
“Often times, this ice is deceptive,” McFarland said. “It looks solid and it may be in portions, but there’s no way to know how thick it is and how it’s going to support weight on it.”
He said all fire departments in the Salt Lake area have ice rescue teams. And while they may not be far from where a person or animal is, he said quick response time doesn’t guarantee survival.
“That might not be a survivable time frame if an accident occurs,” McFarland said. “So, you really have to be ahead of the curve and keep yourself out of harm’s way on this.”
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