Calgary, AB,

Calgary Fire reminds Calgarians to stay safe near all bodies of water

This time of year, ice can be dangerous and the Calgary Fire Department reminds Calgarians that everyone should keep ice safety in mind when around lakes, ponds and rivers.

“There have been several recent incidents of people venturing out onto frozen lakes or ponds, and it is very concerning to us,” said Carol Henke, Public Information Officer, Calgary Fire Department. “Because we have extreme temperature fluctuations in Calgary, especially with anticip[ated warm weather, ice conditions can be quite dangerous.”

The Calgary Fire Department recommends the following safety tips when planning activities around frozen lakes, ponds and waterways.

  • When taking a nature walk, keep a safe distance from river banks and lake shores - as you would any time of year.
  • Do not walk on ice-covered lakes or ponds, unless identified as approved public or private skating destinations and NEVER venture onto frozen rivers or other waterways. It is difficult to assess if the ice will be thick enough to hold the weight of a person or animal, so it is best to stay off.
  • If a person or an animal falls through ice into water, call 9-1-1. Do not attempt to rescue them yourself.
  • For outdoor skating, only skate on designated City of Calgary lagoons. Find out which locations are still open:

“We advise all Calgarians to stay off ice completely. Unless it’s a City-designated skating area, it is best for people and animals to keep a safe distance from any ice-covered ponds, lagoons, waterways or rivers,” said Public Information Officer Henke.

If you do fall through ice and into water, the Calgary Fire Departments advises you to stay calm and keep your head out of the water. Remember to call for help and keep your hands on the ice shelf and:

  • Control your breathing;
  • Pull yourself up on the ice onto your stomach and roll toward shore where the ice might be thicker; and
  • If you can’t get out of the water in less than 10 minutes, stop kicking and trying to pull yourself out. Instead, anchor yourself to the ice shelf and continue to call for help.

If you witness someone on ice or falling through ice into the water, please stay back and call for help. Call 9-1-1 and ask for the Calgary Fire Department. Encourage the person in the water to kick their legs while trying to pull themselves out of the water. If the person is able to get out of the water and is still on ice, tell them to roll towards the shore, not to walk. Reach or throw an aid such as a branch, hockey stick, or rope.

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