City of Winnipeg first responders urge caution due to thin ice conditions on city waterways

Released: March 20, 2019 at 7 p.m.

Winnipeg, MB - With warmer weather finally arriving, residents are advised that thin ice conditions are becoming present on Winnipeg waterways, including drainage ditches, culverts, streams, creeks, retention ponds, and rivers.

Last year, the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS) responded to over 150 water and ice rescue calls. In an effort to reduce these types of dangerous calls, Winnipeg’s first responders are urging parents and teachers to speak to children and students about the dangers of waterways. The ice surfaces are thin and fragile, and falling into ice-cold water can be deadly.

“Sadly, we see far too many calls each year for water and ice rescues,” said Fred de Groot, WFPS Public Education Officer. “As we move into spring, no one should be going on any ice surface. Doing so puts yourself and our responders at risk. The ice thickness is unpredictable on all waterways and ponds so we encourage all citizens to steer clear of these surfaces, as well as the banks surrounding them.”

“Falling through thin ice is preventable and frequently ends with tragic consequences,” said Stephane Boulet, Patrol Sergeant, Winnipeg Police Service (WPS). “The WPS considers all frozen bodies of water within the city of Winnipeg to be unsafe for recreational use with the exception of areas that are monitored in accordance with the City’s Frozen Waterways By-Law.”

The public is also reminded that while the WPS River Patrol Unit places “Danger - Thin Ice” signage at specific locations including outfalls, retention ponds and other potentially dangerous areas, ALL ice should be considered unsafe.

For information on thin ice safety, please visit Winnipeg Police Service – River Patrol or contact the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service - Public Education Branch. Updated ice conditions for City-run facilities can be found at City of Winnipeg – Parks and Open Space.

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