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Safety on the ice

Going out on the ice is a natural part of outdoor life in the winter and gliding quietly over the ice on a sunny winter day is a fantastic nature experience. However, there are a lot of things to keep in mind when it comes to venturing out on our frozen lakes. There is no safe ice and therefore it is important that you are prepared with the right equipment and that you know how to act if something happens. Going out on the ice without the right equipment is a big risk and is not something you should do.

Prepare yourself

Unlike many other parts of outdoor life, the equipment in this case is vital. Therefore, you should always have the following with you:
- Ice studs, these should be worn high around the neck and on the outside of the clothes. The studs must also be fitted with a whistle.
- Ispik, used to assess ice bearing capacity.
- Rescue line, used to rescue a friend who has gone through the ice. Should be worn easily accessible.
- Dry change packed in waterproof bags, make sure to fill the bag with air so it also works as a buoyancy aid.
Mobile phone (also packed waterproof) - Thermos with something hot to drink.

Last but not least, you should always have a friend with you. Being able to get out of the ice alone is really not a matter of course and therefore you should never go out alone.

Safety packages consisting of ispik, ice studs and a rescue line can be rented from the Rescue Service for SEK 15 for two days.

Act safely on the ice

Once you are out on the ice and enjoying yourself, there are a few things to keep in mind. The thickness of the ice is not the same as the quality of the ice. A thinner ice with good quality can have a much better bearing capacity than a thicker ice of poorer quality. Therefore, it is important to check the ice and its quality. The core ice, ie the hard and transparent ice, should be at least 10 cm in order for it to be considered durable, while an ice with a darker color or a white opaque ice has poorer bearing capacity.

If you skate, it is important to keep the speed down to be able to detect weaker ice before it is too late. It is also important to keep your distance from each other to reduce the risk of several people walking through the ice at the same time.

It is also important to keep track of the areas where the ice is usually weaker. Examples of such areas that should be avoided are inflows and outflows because the water there is in constant motion, the ice risks being very weak. Bridges, bridges and reeds should also be avoided and attention should be paid to snow-covered areas as the snow insulates against the cold.

What to do if something happens

If an accident occurs and you walk through the ice, it is important that you remain calm and start breathing and thinking. When the initial shock has subsided, call for help, use the whistle on your ice pegs. Then turn back from where you came from because you know the ice stays there. Bring out your ice studs and work your way up methodically and pull yourself forward until you are back on steady ice before getting up again. Once you are up, you need to make sure to get the heat up; change into dry clothes and drink something warm.

If instead someone else has gone through the ice, it is important that you call 112 as soon as possible. After this, you can approach the person carefully from the same direction as the one who suffered the accident came from. Help the person in need to get up by using your lifeline. It is important that you keep your distance from the person in need and think about your own safety. Therefore, you must never reach out your hand to help someone up because the risk is then great that you also fall in. If you do not have a lifeline, you can use a lifebuoy or a longer tree branch.