If you grew up ice fishing you’ve probably seen a pair of ice safety picks. They’re also called ice claws, ice awls, bear claws, or ice grippers. They weigh almost nothing, and could mean the difference between life and death if you fall through the ice.
You have two things working against you if you break through the ice. First, your clothing is going to become wet and heavy. Because it’s winter you’ll likely have many layers on. When that clothing becomes wet it’s going to weigh you down. Second, ice is (obviously) very slippery. Depending on the exact ice conditions, it could be nearly impossible to pull yourself to safety. Ice picks provide fixed points that allow you to pull your body forward and out of the water. Frabill makes a great little ice safety kit that includes ice safety picks, ice cleats, and a whistle. It’s only $13 and will drastically increase your chances of survival in an emergency situation. One last thing – ice picks are a last resort, so don’t rely on them. Be smart, and don’t walk on ice if you are unsure of the safety.
The video below shows a ice safety picks being used for self-rescue.