“No ice is safe ice,” Toronto police are reminding residents as the sun shines and temperatures climb well above zero.
Const. Corey Smith, spokesperson for Toronto Police Service’s Marine Unit, said Sunday that ice over ponds and larger bodies of water can soften quickly even though it may appear thick in spots.
“The ice gets thin fast. The sun is a very powerful influence on how quickly the ice gets thin. We don’t want anybody going out on ice who could be at risk of falling through,” Smith said.
“The water is still very cold. It’s also barely above zero.”
Smith reminded parents to keep children off the ice around waterways and never let children go near waterways by themselves.
“We like to say no ice is safe ice because you can never guarantee the safety of the ice.”
He said ice in sheltered areas in and around Toronto Islands may seem ideal for private skating, but residents need to ensure that it is not softening in areas. Conditions might not be suitable this weekend, he said.
Follow the 1-10-1 rule
Police use what he called the 1-10-1 rule when reminding people about the dangers of being immersed in water under 10 C.
According to the marine unit, people have one minute to come up with a plan to get to safety, 10 minutes to execute that plan, and one hour before hypothermia leads to unconsciousness and death.
The police marine unit patrols Lake Ontario from the Etobicoke Creek to the Rouge River. It patrols areas in and around the Toronto Islands with its priority being Toronto’s inner harbour.
Steer clear of hydroelectric stations, says OPG
The Ontario Power Generation is also reminding Toronto residents to stay safe on ice and near hydroelectric stations this weekend. It said its stations and dams are clearly marked with warning signs and barriers to prevent access.
“Winter activities around hydroelectric stations may seem like a good idea but these are restricted areas any time of the year, so if you’re outdoors this winter you need to stay away from our facilities,” Mike Martelli, president of OPG’s renewable generation and power marketing said in a news release.
“This winter has seen a wide range of temperature fluctuations and thinner than normal ice in many areas, which means people need to take extra precautions on lakes and rivers wherever they happen to be.”
17 snowmobile crashes so far this year
The Ontario Provincial Police says snowmobilers also need to be careful this weekend as ice melts.
Since the beginning of the year, in the central region of Ontario patrolled by the OPP, which includes Barrie, Bracebridge, Caledon, Collingwood, through to Southern Georgian Bay, there have been 17 snowmobile crashes involving injury and eight where a person has died.
The OPP recommends snowmobilers, among other things, check the ice thickness and quality with local ice hut operators and Ontario ministry of natural resources before riding on any frozen waterway; wear a buoyant snowmobile suit and carry ice picks; and only travel on ice that is already well-tracked and marked Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Club trails.
“Conditions change due to several factors,” it says. “What was safe last week may not be safe this week.”
Article Source: CBC