With the warmer temperatures lately, the Grande Prairie Fire Department is warning people to say off the ice on local ponds and lakes. Grande Prairie Fire Department Captain Brad Ramer says that while the ice may look safe, looks can be deceiving.
“It’s incredibly important to stay off all of the ice. New clear ice can be safe to be on but at this time of year all of our ice is decayed and is very unpredictable and extremely dangerous.”
While exact numbers weren’t available, Ramer says the department responds to a number of ice rescue calls each year. So far this year, they have only gotten calls about people near ice but have not had to rescue anyone.
If people find themselves in that situation, Ramer says its best to have someone call 911 and then try to pull yourself out.
“Somebody who’s fallen into the ice has about a minute of panic where they will be catching their breath and then several minutes of useful movement they can make for self-rescue… I would encourage you to stay calm if you find yourself in that situation as best you can and use those first few minutes to try and fight your way back up on to the ice.”
Ramer adds that bystanders should not go out on to the ice to save a person or a pet as the rescuers often fall in as well.