Stay safe around frozen waterways this spring

Stay safe around frozen waterways this spring

As the weather gets warmer, don’t put yourself and first responders in danger. Stay off the ice when conditions aren’t safe.

Rivers and retention ponds may look like they have a solid ice cover, but there’s a lot going on underneath the ice that people can’t see. It’s an extremely dangerous hidden hazard.

“People should be staying off the ice when waterways are melting,” said Matt Rollason, Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS) Water & Ice Rescue Coordinator. “It gets warm and the ice melts during the day, and then freezes again at night, creating an unsteady ice surface.”

If you do get stuck out on the ice, WFPS first responders are ready to help. They’ve been training all winter for situations like these.

“We’ve been using a controlled environment to practice how to perform ice rescues in the safest possible way,” Rollason said. “We like to get ahead of the curve for peak ice rescue season in the spring.”

WFPS members have been practicing how to self-rescue, in case they get stuck in the water themselves, as well as rescuing someone from the water using a board and an inflatable boat and pully system.

Parents and teachers should teach children to stay away from frozen waterways. Pet owners should keep their pets leashed to prevent them from chasing something onto the thin ice.

If you spot someone who needs help, call 9-1-1 and stay on scene. Give the 9-1-1 call taker a detailed description of where you are and what you see so first responders can get to the person as quickly as possible.