Stay safe around frozen waterways this spring

WFPS first responders preparing for possible ice rescue calls

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 first responders train to rescue people on ice.
WFPS first responders have been using a controlled environment to practice how to perform ice rescues in the safest possible way.

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.

“Our first responders are prepared to help if you get stuck on the ice or fall in,” said Rollason. “But we hope you’ll stay off waterways so we don’t have to.”

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.

Was this information helpful?

How can we make this web page better?

Information collected will be used to improve our website. Do not use this form to submit a request for service or information because it will not be forwarded to departments for response. To submit a request for service or information, contact 311.

This form is not intended to collect personal information; however, any personal information you choose to include in your comments is collected by the City of Winnipeg under the authority of section 36(1)(b) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act for the purpose of improving our website and will not be used or disclosed for any other purposes, except as authorized by law. Contact the Corporate Access and Privacy Officer by mail (City Clerk’s Department, Susan A. Thompson Building, 510 Main Street, Winnipeg MB, R3B 1B9) or by telephone (311) if you have any questions about the collection of this information.