How to Skate Safely on a Frozen Pond

How to Skate Safely on a Frozen Pond

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Skate safely on a frozen pond

There’s something happily traditional about skating on an iced-over pond. Ever since the legend of Holland’s Hans Brinker, authors have written vintage stories and poems about the joys of outdoor ice skating.
Hollywood frequently makes movies featuring loving couples who glide across the ice of the town pond to romantic music. However, the reality of pond ice skating in winter is that it can be unsafe. For indoor skating rinks, the only real danger is falling down. When out at the town’s frozen pond, there are many safety rules to observe to avoid more serious accidents.

1. It would be most effective if the local police put up a sign on the frozen-over pond that indicates whether it is safe or unsafe for skating. If no authorities determine the condition of the pond, safety must be the responsibility of those planning to skate there.

2. Before anyone is allowed to skate, test to find out if the ice will support several 150 to 200 pound adults over all of the lake surface. If the weather remains below freezing, use an ax to chop a hole in the ice in an isolated area. If it’s at least three inches thick where people will be skating, that area could be considered safe.

2. If there are thin places on the ice where the freeze is less than three inches thick, rope them off and/or put up large signs warning of think ice. If there are police or other monitors involved in ice skating on that pond, they should bring or set up emergency equipment and first-aid kit close by the roped-off areas.

3. If there are no monitors, it’s the responsibility for individual couples and families to take safety equipment with them. They should have an eight- to twelve-foot length of rope, knotted at both ends. A blow-up or cork life preserver float would be useful, too. In case a skater falls through the ice, those items will be there to expedite quick rescue efforts.

4. Everyone, especially families who bring small children with them to skate on the pond should have a first-aid kit, and several thermos bottles full of hot cocoa or coffee. There will inevitably be bumps, bruises, sore muscles and cold fingers that need immediate care, and a warm drink can help ease the situation.

5. Fully-charged cell phones on each person at the pond are useful for those on shore to keep in communication with those who are skating. They’re necessary if the pond is very large, and skaters may be out of sight of the shore at times.

6. Dry clothes and an extra pair of gloves or mittens are helpful when skaters, especially the very young ones, get wet and need to be kept warm.

7. When groups of children, age ten or under, are brought to the pond, teachers or parents should establish a buddy system. That requires each child to stay close to another at all times while they’re skating.

Safety rules for ice skating on a frozen-over pond are just matters of common sense. Have fun, but recognize the danger of accidents, and do everything possible to prevent them.

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