Caution urged due to thin ice conditions on city waterways

As temperatures continue to drop, citizens are advised that thin ice conditions are present on Winnipeg waterways, including drainage ditches, culverts, streams, creeks, retention ponds and rivers.

 Parents and teachers are urged 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.

 “All water and ice rescue calls carry a degree of risk for our members,” said Mark Reshaur, assistant chief, Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS). “Areas of the river that appear calm can carry dangerous currents, and ice thickness is unpredictable any time of year, so there really is no reason to be near the water.”

 “Falling through thin ice is preventable and frequently ends with tragic consequences,” said Rob Riffel, Staff 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, but all ice should be considered unsafe even if warning signage is not present.

The WFPS responds to an average of 130 water and ice safety calls each year.

For information on thin ice safety, visit Winnipeg Police Service — River Patrol, or contact the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service — Public Education Branch.