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Ontario’s frozen lakes, ponds and rivers make a wonderful winter playground for many people. From skating to snowmobiling, to a simple stroll across the ice, these winter activities are part of our heritage and part of what makes living in this Province great.
Unfortunately, far too many deaths occur ever year as people fall through the ice. With common sense, a little preparation and some safety equipment, many of these fatalities could have been prevented. Here’s how you can make your outdoor adventures a little safer.
First, never assume the ice you are about to venture out on is safe simply because of sub-zero temperatures and snow accumulation. There are many factors that determine the thickness and density of ice, most of which are not visible to the eye. Water depth, fluctuating water levels, currents and rapidly changing weather patterns are just a few factors that dramatically affect ice conditions.
Remember no ice is 100% safe. However, as a general guideline the minimum ice thickness to support an adult is 4 inches, snowmobiles require 6 inches and cars at least 12 inches. If you’re not sure, err on the side of caution and don’t go on the ice.
If an accident does occur and you or someone you are with falls through the ice, then consider the tips demonstrated in the following video. Learn what to do, how much time you have, and how to get out of the water.
It’s amazing how quickly accidents happen and how dangerous the outcomes can be. This winter be aware and be prepared to make your ice adventures safe and enjoyable.