Before Going on the Ice

Ice does not attack people. Ice accidents happen because of unsafe human behaviour – inadequate risk assessment and overconfidence. Only “healthy” ice is able to carry a man – safe ice is without cracks, smooth, and clear. Vertical cracks decrease ice strength by approximately 25, and horizontal cracks by 40 per cent. Ice must be at least 7 cm thick, and in springtime and autumn, even this might not be enough to be safe. Nordic rescue workers recommend going on ice only if it is at least 10 cm thick.

Keep in mind:

    • Do not wear rubber boots, as these are difficult to remove if you break through the ice, and impede getting out of the water.
    • Make sure that the weather has been cold for at least a week.
    • Ensure that the ice is strong enough to carry you.
    • Dress according to the weather.
    • Bring ice traction cleats with you – these may become helpful in case of an emergency. Ice traction cleats should be worn around the neck, on top of clothes, to be easily reachable if needed. Ice cleats are meant to help you in getting out of the hole.
    • Before heading out on the ice, inform your close ones about your plans.
    • Make sure you know the name of the body of water you are heading out to. You need it to placing an emergency call and explain your whereabouts to the Rescue Service.