The warmth of spring may encourage more people to get out — just don’t go out on the ice, firefighters warn.
Not only is the ice melting, but Brandon Fire and Emergency Services Capt. Ralph Moore says currents beneath the ice of the Assiniboine River likely means it’s thinner than you think.
“Stay off the ice, especially now,” Moore warns. “People might think it looks good, but with the water flowing underneath, it’s being eroded from underneath where you can’t see. It’s getting thinner and thinner every day, but you can’t tell that it’s getting thinner.”
BFES has a Water/Ice Rescue Team that is specially equipped to allow members to get out onto ice to make a rescue. Other firefighters are trained to provide support from shore during an emergency.
But it doesn’t take long for someone who has fallen through ice to drown, especially on a river. Cold water will make them numb or lose consciousness, making it difficult for them to pull themselves out. Fighting a current, which will drag a person under the ice, is even tougher.
Even rescue team members, who are protected by special suits, can’t remain in cold water for a long time.
Moore said that straying onto ice not only puts you at risk, but also emergency personnel sent to rescue you.
Snowmobilers often ride along the frozen surface of the Assiniboine River, but Moore said everyone should just stay off of ice wherever it may be.
“Any water that’s standing now … the ice is starting to melt. I would stay off all ice, starting now,” Moore said.
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