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12-year-old boy falls through ice on Caroline lake

Posted on Wednesday, January 8, 2014 at 5:24 pm

Rescue workers were dispatched to a Caroline County lake Wednesday afternoon after a 12-year-old boy fell through the lake’s icy surface.

He was treated by rescue workers.

“Any ice on a lake here would never support human weight,” said Jason Loftus, Caroline County’s chief of fire and emergency medical service. “We would discourage anyone from considering going out on the ice.”

Once someone falls into an icy lake or pond, it’s critical that the person get out of the wet clothes and into dry ones as soon as possible, Loftus said.

Nearly 8,000 people drown in the United States annually, according to

Even ice that’s 6 inches thick can still allow a person to break through and drown, according to the website. Underwater current can cause ice to get thin. Bodies of water freeze and thaw throughout the winter and make ice unstable and weak. Sometimes the water level of the lake or pond can drop and leave space between the ice and water, which can reduce the strength of the ice.

The color of the ice can say a lot. Clear ice, when thick enough, is good ice, the website says.  Cloudy ice can mean that the ice has thawed and refrozen.  With this type of ice it is extremely important to use all the safety precautions.  Ice referred to as “black ice” is generally thin ice, not yet frozen solid or a thin layer of ice over shallow water.

Hypothermia is a major cause of death in cold water incidents, the website says.  Although hypothermia is the greatest danger, getting out of the water is critical.  If you break through the ice, it is nearly impossible to get out on your own because of how slick the ice is, especially when water is on the ice.  If an ice emergency occurs, throw something that may float to the person in trouble or use a long pole to extend to them.  Ladders pushed out on the ice can be used so long as the intended rescuer does not get on the ice.  Sometimes items like tree branches, garden hoses, small boats or ropes will be enough to provide the victim with self-rescue tools.

Never attempt to enter the water to rescue someone.  Call 911 immediately and get help on the way.  Let the trained professionals manage the emergency situations.  If a person is rescued from extremely cold water after a relatively short period of time, the person has a better chance of survival because the body and brain tend to shut down when the head is exposed to cold water.  This is called the “mammalian diving reflex.”  This lowers the heart rate and shuts the blood flow to the body’s extremities.  This allows the blood to carry oxygen to the brain and other vital organs needed to keep a person alive.

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