One of the most real and painful, sometimes even deadly challenges stretching far and wide this winter is ice.

You’ll end up on this slippery surface on various occasions. If your balance is not of a feline, you’re likely to fall and hit yourself or crash through ice and risk hypothermia and frostbite.

There’s not much you can do to step more confidently on ice than buying a pair of adequate boots.

As for the latter part where you fall through ice, there are a few crucial things you should know if you want to escape unharmed.

This YouTube video shows all the steps you need to follow if this occurs.

Here are the most important actions that you must make immediately:

  1. Breathe and keep your cool. As you plunge through the ice and into the frozen water, your body will begin to hyperventilate, meaning that your blood will overfill with oxygen. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing when you fall into a freezing environment because it will speed your metabolism and create body heat. This shock state will last between one and three minutes, so it’s crucial to act during this timeframe.
  2. Out of the water and onto the ice. After you’ve left panic mode, lean your chest on the ice and start kicking your feet up. Get a firm grip with your palms and try to push out of there. At this point you’ll want to keep peddling your feet to give you an extra boost.
  3. Once you’re on solid ice, don’t stand up immediately! You risk falling back through the ice if you don’t maintain focus now. Crawl the ice surface until you know it’s thick enough. You can test it with your elbow. If it feels solid, then carefully move up by crouching and then standing.

Once you’ve escaped the ice clutches and have reached shore, get out of your wet clothes as fast as possible and dress up in warm garb.

Although chances of falling through the ice occur only when stepping on a frozen body of water, tens of people die annually in the U.S. alone by drowning or freezing as a result of falling through ice.

This basic advice should give you a clear picture of how you should act in case you are ever found in this situation.

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