Cornwall police urge residents to stay safe on the ice

CORNWALL – The recent cold temperatures have sparked interest to head to the ice for some good old fashioned winter entertainment, but Cornwall police urge residents to be cautious.

In some areas of the river the ice may be thick enough to support several activities such as ice fishing, skating or snowmobiling, but citizens are urged to be aware of possible dangers before going out. Ice thickness can be affected by several factors, such as temperature, current, pressure cracks and snow cover. A rule of thumb for determining how much the ice can support is 15 centimeters for one person skating, 20 centimeters for group skating, 25 centimeters for snowmobiles and 35 centimeters for ice fishing huts.

“The statement is precautionary at this time,” Const. Daniel Cloutier, Cornwall Police Services, told Cornwall Newswatch. There have not been any incidents reported of people falling through the ice this year, but caution is always the safest route.

The best time to go out is “after a good cold snap and once you’ve assured yourself of the ice thickness,” says Cloutier. Most ice fishermen drill through the ice to measure thickness. If you don’t have access to an auger, find someone who does or is aware of the safest places to go.

The warning from city police comes a week after SD&G O.P.P. issued a similar caution. Safety tips have also been provided by SD&G O.P.P. and are as follows:

• Check the weather – Do not go out on warm or stormy days

• Do not travel on the ice if you have consumed alcohol or drugs

• Do not travel on the ice alone or in the dark

• Keep away from unfamiliar paths or ice

• Never go out on the ice alone – always have a buddy with you

• Always let someone know your destination and time of return

• Children should be accompanied by an adult

• Carry a small survival kit on your person-including ice picks, rope, a lighter, waterproof matches, magnesium fire starter, pocket knife, compass and whistle

For the best outcome in a case of falling through the ice, Const. Cloutier warns people to “leave the ice immediately and seek warm shelter to avoid the risk of hypothermia.”

For more information from the OFSC go to their website at  or visit the Canadian Red Cross website.

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