(Photo courtesy of Ottawa Fire Services)
With the spring thaw upon us, Ottawa Fire and Rescue Services are warning everyone to stay off of waterways at this time of year – the ice may be thin and not able to sustain any weight.
Since Monday, March 18th, Ottawa Fire Services (OFS) has received a significant number of emergency calls regarding reports of dogs or people appearing in distress in or around area waterways. OFS Water Rescue teams were dispatched to these emergencies and we would like to remind residents to exercise additional caution. As mentioned by our partners at Ottawa Police there are significant dangers association with ice thaw. Luckily, most calls did not require the use of our Water Rescue boats or fortunas. However, persons were taking unnecessary risks by being on the ice. Namely, pet owners, young children and teenagers were found near open bodies of water. It is crucial that parents and pet owners take steps to ensure the safety of their children and pets. Our Water Rescue technicians are equipped with their safety systems and boats to venture onto the ice to retrieve the persons and assist with the removal of the pets. However, prevention and education is key in keeping people safe.
We would like to take this opportunity to remind outdoor enthusiasts, parents and pet owners that ice conditions are unstable and unsafe. We kindly request that persons exercise extreme caution around waterways such as: rivers, ponds, creeks and ditches. It is highly recommended that you talk to your children about the dangers and keep them at arm’s length near water sources. Lastly, we kindly request that pet owners keep their pets on a leash. Please do not jeopardize your own safety by venturing onto the ice or into the water. Residents are advised to call emergency services if someone’s life is in danger.
Thank you to callers who advised the authorities of the various emergencies. Please note – if safe to do so, callers should remain on scene to meet emergency responders allowing them to locate persons in danger more rapidly.
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