Winter safety tips for all your outdoor activities

With the winter season fast approaching, the Ottawa Police urges residents to exercise caution when doing their preferred winter activities and practice our best safety tips and precautions.

Ice Safety
At this time of the year, falling into the water can be very dangerous. Even the strongest swimmers can struggle due to the water’s cold temperature.

It is recommended that residents stay clear of small and large bodies of water due to the water’s unpredictable nature.

If someone, or a pet, ventures onto a frozen waterway that may be dangerous, do not follow them. Call 9-1-1 for help.

For safe skating locations in Ottawa, consult public skating listings. Always check conditions before venturing onto ice and respect any barriers on site.

Consult the City of Ottawa’s Skating Safety & Regulations page for public skating rules. You can also check the Canadian Red Cross ice safety tips.

Trail Safety
If you’re heading out on a trail, tell someone where you’re going and when you’re expecting to be back. Make sure your cell phone is fully charged but be aware that cell phone reception may not be reliable and may vary depending on your service provider and location.

When using a Motorized Snow Vehicle wear proper safety equipment and:

  • Ensure you have proof of valid insurance, proper ID and a trail pass with you.
  • Avoid trespassing. Stay on the designated trails and away from any form of ice or water.
  • It is the responsibility of snowmobile operators to check the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) website to ensure the trails are open prior to going on them.
  • Always drive sober. When operating snowmobiles, residents must not be under any form of substances.
  • It is recommended to also use snowmobiles when there is sunlight.
  • Obey the posted speed limits.
  • Ride within your skill and ability.

You can check the Ontario website for more tips and information on where you can ride based on your age.

Sledding and Tobogganing

  • Avoid tobogganing at night.
  • Respect any closures, barriers, or signs.
  • Inspect the hill prior – avoid icy hills or hills with obstacles like trees, rocks, fences, etc.
  • Avoid hills close to roads, railways, or bodies of water.
  • Always wear a helmet. A hockey or ski helmet is recommended because they are designed for high impact and cold-weather use.
  • Always supervise children.

Whichever activity you choose, recognize the risks, exercise caution, and be aware of your surroundings. See more tips from the NCC and the City of Ottawa.


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