SMITH FALLS – The eastern region Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) say time is critical to surviving a fall through ice.

On Feb. 18, the OPP’s East Region Snowmobile, ATV and Vessel Enforcement (SAVE) Unit alongside Smith Falls Police and other emergency services attended Lower Reach Park in Smith Falls to give a demonstration of how to survive falling through ice. 

A hole was cut in the ice to allow Const. Sean McCaffrey to jump in.

The 1-10-1 rule was explained as follows:

  • 1 – Minute – when you first go into the water you will gasp with shock. It is important to calm your breathing at this point.
  • 10 – Minutes – is how long you have before you lose effective use of your finger, arms and legs so you should try and self-rescue.
  • 1 – Hour – before hypothermia could potentially set in so it is best to still attempt to self-rescue and call for help, while focusing on keeping your air way clear which dramatically increases your survival.

 McCaffrey advised if anyone is going out on the ice to carry ice picks with them, wear appropriate winter clothing, and never go alone or at night. For more information, please check out Red Cross for more safety tips.