Ice Safety: What to do if you fall through the ice

Right now on most lakes a person needs a power auger extension to get past the ice and into the fish-holding part of the lake, but in just a few weeks ice conditions will deteriorate as spring finally moves closer. It’s at this time when ice fishing can be at it’s best, but it’s also a time when ice conditions can be at their worst. People go in every year, and some lives are lost.

Adam Walton is a career fire fighter who also has a fishing guide service on the side in southeastern Wisconsin. Walton decided he wanted to create a video that would help people in case they fell through the ice.

It is the best video I have seen of this kind because it was “real time” and Walton was not wearing a protective dry suit when making the video.

Dan Durbin“The video was created with the sole intent of helping fellow ice anglers who may fall victim to this situation,” he said. “Although I work for the Janesville Fire Department, I live in the nearby small town of Edgerton.

After contacting the Edgerton Fire Department, we discussed doing this video and combining it in with their scheduled ice rescue training.”

When Walton first jumps in the water, you can clearly see that he had to fight off panic, and the pain, from the icy water. His breathing was erratic, and his voice sounded a bit like he had one too many. Still, he gains control and gives his advice – while still in the water.

“You must keep your head above water and not panic,” he said. “Get your hyperventilating under control. Then concentrate on getting out. It will take one to three minutes to get your breathing under control.”

You can actually watch as Walton gradually gets to a state where his body is getting “used to” the drastic temperature change.

“Retrace the tracks you came in on, because you know the ice was safe to the point before you fell in.”

Unbelievably, he jumps right back in the water to demonstrate how to get out with the aid of ice picks.

“They help you get out a lot faster,” he said.

Walton said that if a person doesn’t get out in 10 or 15 minutes, they will be unable to function enough to get out on their own and will need the fire department to help them.

“By the third time in, my body began to burn all over and I needed to get out.”

Walton never felt panic but was very, very uncomfortable.

“After getting home, I had some unforeseen side effects hit me,” he said. “The shock to my body left me feeling pretty sick for the next two days. After that passed, everything was all good.”

No one was paid to create the video.

“You’d have to pay me to do it again though,” Walton said, grinning. “Don’t try this at home folks.”

To check out the video, go to:

Categories: Blog Content, Ice Fishing, WisBlogs, Wisconsin – Dan Durbin

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