Knowing what to do in an emergency can often be the difference between discomfort and tragedy. If you are going to be on ice for any period of time, then certain gear is encouraged.

Spud Bar: A spud bar is a long, metal-tipped pole than can be used to probe new areas of ice. If you are unsure about where you are getting ready to step, you can use the bar to check the ice.

Safety Spike: While resembling a medieval martial arts weapon, this spike should be a part of any ice adventure. These are generally 1-inch-thick dowels with a metal spike protruding from the end. Most are lashed together and should be carried around your neck. If you fall through the ice, you can quickly use the spiked end to pull yourself out of the water.

Emergency Pack: This will be the repository for the other items that you could possibly need for an ice emergency. The pack should be lightweight and waterproof. It should include waterproof matches, fire-starter materials, a first-aid kit, a space blanket, non-perishable food bars and dry clothes.

Flotation Device: This is especially true for those who may be traversing the ice on an ATV or snowmobile. If the ice collapses underneath you, a flotation vest can help keep you buoyant and assist in your escape.

This article was originally published in the SURVIVOR’S EDGE™ Spring 2016 issue. Subscription is available in print and digital editions here.

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