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Children's Ice Drowning Prevention Workshop

These notes are complied from workshops we have given and not intended to be a complete workshop. They are provided to give you an idea of what we teach and provide some ideas and examples.

You can use this information in your own programs or you can bring us in to conduct the program while we simultaneously teach you how to conduct it.


Andrea's Notes:

How many of you like to play on the ice, ice skating, fishing? The first thing we need to know is never go on the ice without an adult back home knowing where you are going, your mom, dad, teacher, to go with you. Never go on the ice alone. Why is it important for one parent at home to know where you and the other parent are going?

What could happen if you or you and your friends go out on the ice alone?

Walk slowly - have kids practice walking as slowly as they can.

Ask them what happens to a car on ice? Can it stop well? Why not? So, can people stop well on ice? NO! That's why we need to move slowly on ice.

As you walk, you suddenly hear a "Crrrrrack!" Uh-oh! The ice is cracking! It sounds like this ".." Everyone make that sound. What do we do? STOP! Now, become an airplane - put your arms out and look up as if you were looking at an airplane.

If we hear the ice crack we should never, never, run. Try it now, run from here to there. Now walk slowly like an airplane. Which is quieter? Why? Sure, when you run you pound the ice with your feet. What could happen to you? Right, you could break through or fall and then break through. So, we never run on ice.

Okay walk slowly towards me. "Crrrrrack" what do we do? Become an airplane, look up at the airplane. Now verrry gently, and as slowly as you can get down to your hands and knees. Crawl very slowly to the closest point to shore. Crawl back to shore: Now it is time to make like a cat stretching, very slowly stretch your arms forward until you are laying on the ice. Now we need to crawl on our bellies like a snake. Do snakes have legs and arms? No, so do not use your hands to push down. Crawl with your arms out front like a snake - how do they do it? Yes, they slither. Do that now from here to there.

Skill Practice - walk, airplane, crawl like a slithery snake. Choose a child to yell out crack. Keep them as involved as possible.

Now we need to know how to roll like a rag doll. The key is to roll very slowly and gently while keeping the head with it's dead weight rolling from the child's arm to the ice back to an arm back to the ice. If they pick their head up that could put their shoulder through the ice. Keep as much as their body touching the ice. No part should hit or bang into the ice at any time. Practice rolling like that rag doll as if you were rolling on eggs and don't want to break any eggs. Roll like a rag doll on a bed of eggs.

Skill Practice - walking slowly, crack, airplane, crawl, crack, cat stretch to slithery snake to rag doll roll.

What do you do if someone is walking on the ice and it cracks? You need to tell them what to do. Pair them up and have one person be the person walking when the ice cracks and have the other child tell them what to do - airplane, crawl, rag doll. Teach them how to strongly "command" the "victim" what to do. Make sure the victims know they have to pretend they don't know what to do until they are told by their friend.

When you hit the cold water, you may not be able to breathe because of the cold in your face and airway. So keep your arms on the ice, cup your hands to your face, and blow out against them. Do that now. What do you feel? Yes, you are warming up your face so you can breathe. Keep doing it, nice lonnnnng, slow exhalations. If you find it difficult to breath or catch your breath, make nice slow, long exhalations.

Skill Practice - fall - cover face to breathe and hold on.

What if you see someone else fall through the ice? Call 911! But what if we are out on the ice, too? Don't try to help the other person, because then you may both fall through, and then there's no one to call for help! So, crawl back very gently and slowly to shore, and then go call 911.

Let's work on crawling from here to there. Move very slowly and gently like a cat stalking a mouse. While you are crawling back to shore, if your friend has fallen through, loudly tell them to hang on, you are going to get help. Tell them not to let go of the ice. Do this now while you are crawling. Loud so they can hear you. Oh you hear the ice crack again - what does that sound like? Make the sound. Okay, so now we need to get even lower to get back to shore. Why?

We need to crawl on our bellies like a snake. Do snakes have arms? No, so do not use your hands to push down. Crawl with your arms out front like a snake - how do they do it? Yes, they slither. Do that now from here to there.

Okay, you are on shore. Before you go call for help take one second to look where you are and where the person in the ice is. Why would we do that? If there is another person, one of you should stand right in front of the person and keep telling them to hang on the ice, help is on the way. Do not move, stay in one spot. Why?

Okay, let us say you are walking on the ice and you hear that sound - make it now. Quick what should you do, yes make like an airplane, and look up for an airplane. Remind me why we do that? Good. Well if you didn't, and your body was like an arrow, what could happen if you fell through the ice. Yes you could end up under the ice roof. If that happened and you look up you may see a dark and light spots. Go to the dark spot because that will be the hole. When you see an ice whole from above what color is it? Dark right, and the ice and snow look white and light right? So if we are under the ice roof, what are we looking for to get out? Everyone, tell me.

Okay, you are holding on to the ice and are having difficulty breathing. Show me what we do. Now the next step is to try to get out. Teach kids how to crawl out like a snake and kick their feet. Take kids through slow roll, with arms over the head. Head must stay low and on the ice. Sloooow , gentle rollls.

Triple them up - one kid on shore and one in a hole. The kid on shore talks the other one how to get out while the third calls 911. They should know how to call 911 - what information they will need to give.

If the person can't get out of the hole what are we going to tell them? What are we going to do? Yes, stay where you are on shore and keep talking with them.

Teach them about making and using ice awls.

You can use a paper/tablecloth to make "magic hole."

If your dog falls in should you go after the dog? Why not? Should your daddy or mommy go after the dog? Why not? If your little brother or sister falls in should your daddy or mommy go after him or her? Why not? What should they do?

Here comes the F.D. Firefighter Scott is going to show us how he will save you. Demo with pole. Kids kick their feet, climb up the pole, and roll with the pole. They should each do this. If you have enough poles they can assume both roles.

Meanwhile teach them how to throw rescue bags and take turns pulling each other out.

Review - should they ever go on the ice alone? What do they need to do before they go on the ice - who should know and who should be with them. How should they move on the ice? What should they do if they hear or see the ice crack? What if their dog or someone else falls in?

Have them shout out answers as a group- they all need to be involved. Each time they do a skill they should shout out what they are doing - that will increase retention and make it more likely they will do the skill during a real incident. e.g. "Airplane! Look at the airplane! Crawl like a cat! Cat stretch! Slithery Snake! Rag Doll Roll, Roll on eggs!"

Personal Flotation Devices are a preventative tool. See if your local dealer can provide you with some demo units. Make sure you wear your PFD whenever you are on the "ice." Incorporate PFD's in to the skill sessions below. Show the difference between what happens to someone when they fall in with and without a PFD. Mommy and Daddy should make sure you have a PFD on when you go on the ice with them - just as they have to do when you go on a boat. So what are you going to tell Mommy and Daddy you need? "A Personal Flotation Device!" Parents should also wear PFD's on the ice. Both children and parents should be taught this. Wearing commercially made ice awls with pick covers, are also very recommended. Make sure you have these. For more information contact RIPTIDE.]

If your Department wants to refer us for parents to purchase rescue bags and ice awls, we can work out a commission so you can get credit for more gear for your department. If you can sell direct, then we can provide you with what you need as well. It would make a great fundraiser - the public gets free training and the safety gear they need, the department raises funds to buy what they need. Let me know what you think.

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