March 20, 2023 — Winnipeg, MB, — Lifesaving Society Manitoba together with the Winnipeg Police Service and the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service are recommending everyone stay off frozen bodies of water. Ice in Southern Manitoba is now unpredictable and potentially unsafe.
“If you do choose to go on the ice, then you need to plan ahead and be prepared to go through the ice and into cold water,” says Lifesaving Society Executive Director Stacey Grocholski. “Wear something that floats like floater suit or even a lifejacket. Do not go out alone and be prepared to perform a rescue.”
“The Forks has closed the Nestaweya River Trail for the season; we’re seeing more open water across the city and more people near our waterways in Winnipeg,” says River Patrol Officer Ray Duma of the Winnipeg Police Service. “All rivers, streams, retention ponds and ditches should be avoided. Conditions can change quickly due to weather, especially when it is warm or after a snowfall. As always, we ask the community to be water smart and stay safe.”
“The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service responds to approximately 150 water and ice rescue calls annually,” said Fire-Paramedic Chief Christian Schmidt. “By venturing onto the ice, you are not only putting yourself at risk, but also the first responders who are called out to perform high-risk rescues.”
For the latest information on river conditions in the City of Winnipeg visit the Winnipeg Police Service’s River Patrol page: https://winnipeg.ca/riverpatrol
The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service would like to remind you:
- Conditions can change rapidly.
- Thin ice conditions are present on all waterways, including drainage ditches, culverts, streams, creeks, retention ponds and rivers. In addition, all skating ponds and outdoor rinks should be closed for the season.
- We encourage parents and teachers to speak to children and students about the dangers of waterways, thin ice and the need to stay away from the banks of any waterways.
- If you spot someone on the ice or in the water, you should call 911 and have a detailed description of where you are and what you see. Do not enter the water. Stay on scene to direct first responders.
- Dog owners should keep their pets leashed while close to waterways so they cannot chase waterfowl or other animals onto the ice.
Lifesaving Society Manitoba’s Drowning Reports show drowning can occur at any time of the year. In fact, one third of all drownings in Manitoba occur during the colder months between October and April. Many of these drownings occur on ice and involve recreational snowmobiling.
For further information contact:
Lifesaving Society Manitoba
Media Coordinator – Lorne Edwards
Phone: 204-956-2124 ext. 5 or (cell) 204-227-6894
The Winnipeg Police Service Public Information Office
The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service
The City of Winnipeg Media Inquiry Line