One thing that was missing in late fall and so far the first week of winter has been consistent cold.
The lack of cold weather means any ice that has formed on some area waterways is dangerously thin. The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) stress no ice is safe ice. Still, every winter there are tragedies where people die after plunging through the ice and into the frigid water.
Provincial police have released a video telling people they need to remember the “1 – 10 – 1 rule.”
Southern Georgian Bay OPP Constable David Hobson says the video stresses the point that if a person should fall into the water, they have one minute to catch their breath, and they have 10 minutes to get themselves either out of the water or attached to something in the water that they can become secured to.
“Then they’ve got basically an hour to be rescued before hypothermia sets in, and quite possibly have a heart attack and pass away,” explains Hobson.
Remember the “1-10-1 Rule” before venturing onto the ice. You have 1 minute to catch your breath, 10 minutes of active movement and 1 hour to get rescued. But what if you have no way to call for help, or we are more than an hour away? This #HolidaySeason, remember #NoIceIsSafeIce pic.twitter.com/aNOBZhc92A— Ontario Provincial Police (@OPP_News) December 26, 2020
Southern Georgian Bay OPP detachment covers approximately 2,000 square kilometres of waterways.
Hobson says in his over 35 years of policing he has personally had to remove people from icy waters.
“It’s a very unpleasant event. The notification to next of kin is a horrible event for any first responder. A lot of these tragedies are totally preventable,” says Hobson. “It’s just needless activity that puts people in jeopardy.”
When ice does form on area waterways and people want to know the thickness, Hobson suggests checking with local ice fish hut operators who know the history.
If ice travel is a must, Hobson says people should wear a floatation suit, and have a cellphone and rope with them.
“It’s self-rescue if you fall in before emergency services are ever going to be able to get to you. You have to be able to get yourself out. Self-rescue is first and foremost. You have to think about that.”