Rescue tips if you find yourself on thin ice

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A Shelby County boy died and his sister is in critical condition after they fell through a frozen pond over the weekend. In Middle Tennessee, from Mt. Juliet to Ashland City, ponds and creeks are freezing as well.

David Crane, a swift water rescue dive instructor with the Nashville Fire Department says the ice we’re seeing is not as thick as it would appear.

“You can go from having a really good time to having a bad time in an instant,” said Crane.

If you fall through the ice, Crane says you have mere minutes to self-rescue. The first thing you should do is remain calm, then get to edge of the ice.

“Hands on the ice to help stabilize yourself, the next thing you want to do if your able is pull yourself on the ice and kick at the same time, kick as hard as you can as you’re pulling as hard as you can to get up and out of the hole you created in that ice,” Crane said.

Once you’re up, Crane says don’t stand up but rather lay flat and roll.

“What you’re doing is creating a bigger surface, you’re bigger on the surface of the ice, distributing weight in a larger area and by rolling you’re getting yourself to thicker ice.”

Crane says those who are able to stay calm, cool and collected through this type of event are usually able to survive a longer period of time. As for bystanders, Crane says it’s important to call 911 immediately and avoid putting yourself in danger too.

“If they can reach out to the victim where they’re not putting themselves in danger and not getting on the ice, reaching with their hand or a tree limb or 2X4, that would be a safe option. We have one victim, what we don’t want to do is create a situation where we have a second or third victim we have to go after now,” Crane said.

Keep in mind, these crews are putting their lives in danger too.

“You’ve got a large amount of resources responding to that scene, from fire engines to ambulance crews, to district chiefs that are supervisors, to dive team members that are coming from parts unknown and in conditions we see today, all of those vehicles are traveling on roads that present in itself hazardous conditions, so getting to the scene can be tricky,” said Crane.

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