The Co-operators, Water Incident Research Alliance offer top 10 ice safety tips

GUELPH, ON, March 2, 2006 – There are few winter scenes more inviting than a river, lake, or pond topped with a glistening sheet of unbroken ice — and few scenes more dangerous to unsuspecting adults and children. Whenever snowmobilers, cross-country skiers, skaters, or ice fishers venture onto the ice, there is potential for danger. In fact, one out of 12 Canadians who dies in preventable water-related incidents plunges to his or her death through unsafe ice.

Anyone who ventures onto ice under any circumstances is urged to use extraordinary caution and follow these ice safety tips:

  1. Check the weather and avoid ice-related activities on warm or stormy days.

  2. Always check ice conditions with knowledgeable locals, such as resort owners, ice fish hut operators, or local snowmobile clubs.

  3. Avoid bringing vehicles onto ice whenever possible.

  4. Keep away from unfamiliar paths or unknown ice, and avoid traveling on ice at night. Particularly dangerous are river ice and ice that forms at the narrows where one lake flows into another.

  5. Never go onto the ice alone or while impaired.

  6. Before you leave shore, inform someone of your destination and expected time of return.

  7. Wear a thermal protection suit to increase your chances of survival if you do go through the ice. If you do not have one, wear a lifejacket/personal flotation device over a snowmobile suit or layered winter clothing.

  8. Carry a small personal safety kit, no larger than a man’s wallet. It should include waterproof matches, a fail-safe fire starter, pocket knife, compass, whistle, and a large garbage bag.

  9. Carry ice picks, an ice staff, and rope. A cellular phone could also help save your life.

  10. Insist that children, if they do play on ice, wear a lifejacket/personal flotation device or thermal protection buoyant suit. They should always be with a buddy and remain within arm’s reach of an adult.

Remember that ice is constantly changing in response to weather and water conditions. That’s why ice is never 100% safe, even when you have tested its thickness. To guarantee your safety, the best advice is to stay off the ice.

The Co-operators has partnered with the Water Incident Research Alliance to help promote awareness and understanding of water and ice safety issues in Canada.

About the Water Incident Research Alliance:

WIRA is a non-profit alliance of members dedicated to delivering research data regarding water-related incidents, injuries and fatalities. Members include representatives of the Canadian Coast Guard, Lifesaving Society, Canadian Red Cross, Ontario Provincial Police, the Canadian Institute for Health Information, the National Search and Rescue Secretariat, Parks and Recreation Ontario, the Cook-Rees Memorial Fund for Water Search & Safety, and municipal recreation departments.

About The Co-operators:

The Co-operators is a group of Canadian companies focussing on insurance, as well as investment products and property development. Owned by 32 Canadian co-operative organizations, The Co-operators provides insurance protection to more than a million Canadians. .