First minutes critical in ice rescue

·1 min read

Provincial police demonstrated life-saving measures when falling through ice at Lower Reach Park in Smiths Falls last week, on Friday, Feb. 18.

After a hole was cut into the ice, Ontario Provincial Police Constable Sean McCaffrey jumped into the Rideau River waters to exhibit how to survive such an incident. The 1-10-1 rule was used as a helpful reminder for best course of action.

The first 1 is for one minute, when a person is to likely gasp with shock. Breathing calmly is important in this first minute.

The 10 is for the first 10 minutes, which is how long effective use of fingers, arms and legs will likely last. Because of this, it is in the first 10 minutes that self-rescue is at its most critical.

The second 1 is for one hour, which is the time before hypothermia could potentially set in. Self-rescue is still recommended past the 10-minute mark, but police note it is important to be calling for help and continuing to focus on breathing.

Other tips recommended by PC McCaffrey include ensuring anyone venturing out onto ice carries ice picks, wears appropriate clothing and never goes alone or at night.

Assisting PC McCaffrey with the demonstration was the Ontario Provincial Police's East Region Snowmobile, ATV, and Vessel Enforcement (SAVE) Unit, Smiths Falls police and other emergency services.

More safety tips can be found online at

Marshall Healey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brockville Recorder and Times