'No ice is safe ice': Coast Guard practice for ice recuses

Coast Guard practice for ice recuses// WSBT 22

With the recent freezing and thawing, venturing out on what appears to be frozen lakes can be dangerous.

Rescue experts with the U.S. Coast Guard are often called to help people. Their motto is no ice is safe ice.

But people still venture out, so Coast Guard officers have to practice their rescue skills. When getting ready for an ice rescue, every second counts.

"The more time we take in that pre-phase, the more time this person is out there in the water, possibly alone and afraid,” said Officer Adam Klain.

“If you're a normal person just walking around, generally average, not in a dry suit, your normal coats and jackets you're not going to last very long,” said Christopher Ziarek-Rowley.

After they create a quick rescue game plan, officers hit the road. They gather up their equipment and slip onto the ice.

"You've got to crawl, very low. You want to spread your weight out over the ice so you don't sink through in one spot,” said Klain.

When Klain reaches the victim, he wraps this sling around him and slides a board under his back.

"And then I'll tell my team to ‘heave around’ and that's a Coast Guard term for pull on the rope. And then well pull them out of the ice,” said Klain.

Coast Guard officers say if you are going on the ice-- know the weather. You should also dress for conditions. Ziarek-Rowley says it's not a bad idea to invest in a dry suit.

"Have a pair of ice awls or even a couple of screwdrivers with the string on them so if you do get stuck on the ice you can use them to help pull yourself out,” said Ziarek-Rowley.

Most officers say your best bet is not to go out at all.

"You're never going to find yourself in a situation to be rescued by us if you don't go out onto the ice. I can't even tell what ice out here is good to go on, which I said safe, which ice is not. That's why our motto is no ice is safe ice,” Klain said.

Ziarek-rowley says if you fall in, try to use your fists and elbows to army crawl into the ice sheet.

Kick your feet to help.

He says if you manage to get up roll the rest of the way onto the sheet. That keeps your weight distributed and can keep the ice from breaking again.

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