Calgary, AB,

The Calgary Fire Department reminds people to stay off storm ponds

The Calgary Fire Department is reminding Calgarians to stay off all storm ponds. Even in winter, water levels and flows change rapidly, making skating or other activities extremely dangerous.

“Calgary Firefighters really like seeing citizens outside enjoying all Calgary has to offer, in terms of outdoor activities, but they really don’t want Calgarians to put themselves and those around them in danger by skating on thin ice,” says Carol Henke, Calgary Fire Department Public Information Officer. “Water covered by ice is extremely cold and can be really dangerous to both individuals and pets who have fallen through the ice, as well as to those who may try to help them.”

Ice safety near storm ponds

Storm ponds are part of The City of Calgary’s stormwater infrastructure and are in several communities across the city. They are marked by caution signs following the perimeter of the pond, reminding people that going into or onto the ponds is strictly prohibited.

Always keep a safe distance from storm pond banks to avoid accidentally falling into the pond or through the ice.

Do not walk or skate on ice-covered storm ponds. It is difficult to assess the thickness of the ice and its ability to hold the weight of a person or animal.

The water levels in storm ponds will change throughout the winter – this can cause cracks and weak ice that is unable to support the weight of a person. Storm ponds can be quite deep and have strong currents under the ice, even during winter, which cause the ice to be unstable. In addition, road salt and snowmelt can cause dangerous and unpredictable ice conditions, and the boggy nature of the pond bottom can make rescues more difficult. For more information visit

For outdoor skating, only skate on City of Calgary or community rinks; for locations visit Outdoor skating rinks.

What to do if you fall through ice into water

  • Stay calm and try to keep your head out of the water.
  • Control your breathing.
  • Call for help and keep your hands on the ice shelf.
  • Try to pull yourself up on the ice on your stomach and roll towards the shore, where the ice may be thicker.
  • If you can't get out of the water in less than 10 minutes, stop kicking and trying to pull yourself out. Anchor yourself to the edge of the ice. Continue to call for help.

What to do if you witness a person falling through the ice

  • Stay back and call for help; call 9-1-1.
  • If the person does get out the water on to the ice or shore, throw an aid to the person such as a branch or rope that can be used to help pull them to safety.